A federal judge agreed Wednesday to let Rep. George Santos travel more freely outside the District of Columbia as he awaits trial for a 13-count federal indictment.
The decision from U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne Shields came in response to a request from Santos' lawyer, Joseph Smith, earlier in the day, who noted the New York Republican's "good faith basis" in asking for an extended travel area.
Santos' travel has been restricted to Washington, D.C., New York City and Long Island since he was released on bail after his May indictment. Since then, he's been required to notify the government if he wants to go anywhere else.
But in the letter Wednesday to Judge Shields, Murray said Santos' job frequently requires travel outside the restricted zone, creating "unnecessary notifications" to the government.
"In light of the small geographical area of the District of Columbia, there is a frequent need to travel outside the District of Columbia for usual and customary functions of someone who lives and works in the District of Columbia, such as dining, shopping, meetings, events, and even use of the local airports," Murray said in the letter.
The judge's approval means prosecutors and pretrial services were okay with the request, thereby granting Murray's request to allow Santos to travel within a 30-mile radius of D.C. without advance notice to the government and pretrial services.
Santos pleaded not guilty to all 13 counts against him, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and lying to Congress. Prosecutors allege he misled and defrauded supporters, spending donations on personal expenses and schemes, and that he lied to the government about his income and unemployment. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted at trial.
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