The New York Law Journal

In the wake of the recent indictment of Representative George Santos on 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft and false statement crimes in the Eastern District of New York, some journalists have speculated as to whether Santos might try to negotiate a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in which he would offer to resign from his office in exchange for a reduction in the severity and/or number of charges he is facing. But under an obscure Eastern District decision issued in 1982, a court might well invalidate any such deal as a violation of the separation of powers doctrine.

Authors: Evan T. Barr

‘United States v. Richmond’

Frederick Richmond, a liberal Democrat, was elected to the House of Representatives from Brooklyn in 1974. According to the New York Times, in April 1978, he was arrested in Washington on charges of soliciting sex from a 16-year old boy and an undercover police officer. He admitted to a misdemeanor morals charge which was later dismissed by a District of Columbia court after he completed 30 days of counseling.

Subsequently, it was reported that a federal grand jury began investigating allegations that Richmond had purportedly helped a career criminal from Massachusetts who had escaped from prison to get a clerical job in the House of Representatives.

The grand jury also focused on allegations that Richmond had used employees of a company in which he was a director and major shareholder to work on his congressional campaigns, in violation of federal election laws. Even as the scandal swirled around him, Richmond blamed the Reagan Justice Department for his predicament and defiantly announced he would run for a fifth term in 1982.

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