Jan 5 • 38M

Reliable Liars

George Santos may have lied his way to indictment; the federal government trusts that Sam Bankman-Fried will not abscond; Scott Adams says he will sue Ben Garrison over Fauci cartoon

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An irreverent podcast about the law from Josh Barro and Ken White.
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Dear listeners,

In some ways, George Santos is having a pretty good year. He’s a congressman — or, he will be a congressman, once the House elects a speaker and that speaker swears in the members. His new salary is $174,000 a year, which is a lot more than he was making at the Dish Network call center. And he’s famous — he probably has the highest profile of the entire freshman class.

Of course, there are some other things that aren’t going so great for him. He is a big lying liar who lies, and that’s made him a bit of a laughingstock. He doesn’t appear to be making friends — we keep seeing shots of him alone in the back of the House chamber, looking at his phone. And while lying about whether you ever worked at Goldman Sachs isn’t a crime, some of the lies Santos told could have legal consequences.

Ken and I talked this week about Santos’ legal exposure — problems that could arise from statements he made to the government about his finances, or from the manner in which he funded his campaign — and about how prosecutors will go about figuring out whether any of his lies were crimes. And we talked about whether “fraud against the United States” is really a likely charge he could face.

We also talked about Sam Bankman-Fried, who’s out of Bahamian prison and confined to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California. He’s fortunate to be out on bail, and we elaborated on Ken’s post from before Christmas that explained how that was even possible. And we talked a little about how Fat Leonard managed to abscond from pre-sentencing home detention, and what makes the Feds so confident they can keep tabs on SBF.

Besides being out of jail, other things aren’t going so great for SBF — in particular, two of his top lieutenants (Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang) have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in his prosecution. In theory, his trial is scheduled for October, and we also talked about whether — if he doesn’t eventually change his plea to guilty himself — it will be in his interest to hurry to trial or seek to delay and delay.

Finally, we talked about a spat between cartoonists. Dilbert creator Scott Adams has threatened to sue right-wing political cartoonist Ben Garrison for drawing a cartoon that suggested Anthony Fauci had hypnotized him into getting vaccinated for COVID. Can a cartoon be defamatory? Maybe. But this one isn’t.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Josh

Episode links and references

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

Here’s the tweet from Rep.-elect Daniel Goldman:

Plea agreements for Gary Wang and for Caroline Ellison.

Here’s Ken’s post explaining how Sam Bankman-Fried got bail. Subscribe to our newsletter now so you don’t miss another Ken-splainer in the future.

Fat Leonard updates — from when he escaped, and a recent update that there are no updates.

Here’s the cartoon: