Indicted US Representative George Santos on Friday appealed a ruling requiring that the identities of two people who guaranteed his $500,000 bail be disclosed, saying that releasing their names could threaten their safety.
In a letter to US District Judge Joanna Seybert, Santos' lawyer Joseph Murray said the New York congressman and his staff have been subjected to a "media frenzy and hateful attacks" since news of the indictment became public on May 9.
"It is reasonable to conclude that if defendant's suretors are identified, that the attacks and harassment will commence against them too," Murray wrote.
Who are the guarantors?
The letter suggested that the guarantors are family members, not lobbyists or political donors, and that their privacy interests justified anonymity given "the political temperature in this country and acts of political violence that occur."
Santos, 34, is appealing a June 6 ruling by a federal magistrate judge to identify his bail guarantors.
Their identities had been sought by at least 11 media organizations, which cited the public interest in their release.
Jeremy Chase, a lawyer for most of those media organizations, declined to comment. The New York Times, which also sought the names, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for US Attorney Breon Peace, whose office is prosecuting Santos and had not objected to identifying the names, declined to comment.
Santos has expressed a willingness to go to jail if his guarantors were to be publicly identified.
The congressman has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment accusing him of fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds.