Embattled US congressman George Santos has escaped a bid by members of his own party to have him expelled from the House of Representatives.
The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to succeed, but fell well short.
The resolution to expel Mr Santos was issued last week by Republican lawmaker Anthony D’Esposito.
Presenting his request to the House Mr D’Esposito highlighted Mr Santos’s “history of misrepresenting his and his family’s connections to major events, including the Holocaust, 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Pulse nightclub shooting”.
He also listed Mr Santos’ indictment as one of the motives for his expulsion from the House. “As a result of these actions, George Santos is not fit to serve his constituents as a United States representative,” Mr D’Esposito said.
The following day, Friay October 27, Mr Santos pleaded not guilty to 10 new felony charges in a superseding indictment on Friday.
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday Mr Santos said the rush by his colleagues to expel him before his criminal case is concluded was unfair, and would deny him his constitutional right to due process.
“The loss of the presumption of innocence establishes a dangerous precedent that threatens the very foundation of our legal system, and we risk losing the trust that the American people placed in us by passing judgement without due process,” he said, according to ABC News.
“If we work together, we can protect the integrity of our system and the rights of all citizens.”
He added: “I’m fighting tooth and nail to clear my name in front of the entire world, Mr Speaker. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m fighting by God’s grace.”
Only five members in US history have been expelled from the House. The last time an expulsion occurred was in 2002, when Ohio Democrat James Traficant was removed after being convicted of 10 felony counts of racketeering, bribery and fraud.
Last month federal officials included new charges against Mr Santos, accusing him of stealing campaign contributors’ identities to make more than $44,000 in credit card purchases. They also accused him of moving the “vast majority” a $12,000 transfer to his personal bank account.
He and the US government previously agreed that his trial would begin on 9 September of next year. Mr Santos also requested that his bond conditions be changed so he could contact individuals including his family members who are witnesses in the case against him.
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