Former Republican Congressman George Santos returned to federal court on Long Island Tuesday for a brief status conference in his fraud and money laundering case.
Santos was joined by two new lawyers, Andrew Leopoldo Mancilla and Robert Mario Fantone Jr., who are now working with his original attorney, Joseph Murray.
"I love my new lawyers. I've worked with them before," he said, declining to elaborate.
Ahead of the appearance, prosecutors asked the judge to give the parties time "to pursue plea negotiations."
Santos has pleaded not guilty to 23 felony charges, including two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission, two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of access device fraud, according to the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York.
Prosecutors said in a prior court filing in December they were working with Santos "with the goal of resolving this matter without the need for a trial," but there were no new developments in a plea deal Tuesday.
The prosecution also said Monday they were planning to turn over another 6,000 pages of documents as part of discovery. They also asked the judge to set a schedule for pretrial motions.
Federal Judge Joanna Seybert said Murray told her his is making great progress getting the case prepared for trial, which is still set for September.
Santos is back in court on Aug 13.
Prosecutors said there was no need for another status conference until just before the start of trial so there is time "for the parties to pursue plea negotiations."
Santos had represented New York's 3rd Congressional District since January 2020 before being expelled on Dec. 1 in a bipartisan vote, 311-114, with 112 Republicans voting with Democrats, far eclipsing the two-thirds majority threshold needed to remove him from office.
Santos also took a shot at the Republican candidate running to replace him, Mazi Pilip, after his court appearance Monday, saying, "I don't vote for Democrats."
The special election is set for Feb. 13.
Santos also revealed he misses his former job in Congress.
"I miss Capitol Hill," he said. "I worked really hard to get there."