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Mississippi representative explains why he voted against removing Santos

Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly (left) voted against the removal of now-expelled New York Rep. George Santos (right) last Friday

Controversial U.S. Rep. George Santos of New York was expelled from Congress last Friday after the House Ethics Committee found substantial evidence he used campaign finance funds on personal ventures such as spa days, shopping sprees, and even an OnlyFans subscription.

Despite a bipartisan vote of 311-114 choosing to oust the embattled congressman, two Mississippi representatives chose to vote against the measure to remove Santos – even though the charge to do so was led by Mississippian and House Ethics Chair Rep. Michael Guest.

Rep. Trent Kelly, who represents District 1, explained on Wednesday’s episode of The Gallo Show that while he thought Santos was a wash of a congressman, he doesn’t believe enough due process was offered to the first-term lawmaker.

“Do I think he was a good member of Congress? Absolutely not. Do I think he may have done a lot of things that were alleged? Absolutely. Am I defending him? Absolutely not. But I did not feel like he had due process,” Kelly explained. “That’s the first time we’ve kicked someone out not convicted of a crime and I just don’t think there was enough due process there to kick anyone out, whether it was Republican or Democrat.”

While Santos has not been charged with a crime, he is facing 23 federal criminal charges in New York for wire fraud, identity theft, lying to federal election officials, and money laundering. Kelly said the ongoing federal investigation restricted Santos’ ability to stand up for himself in front of the committee.

“They said he didn’t respond to questions. Well, no, he’s got a criminal investigation which answering those questions could be used against him,” Kelly continued. “I had real due process issues because you can’t testify in front of a civil thing when you have criminal charges pending.”

The other Mississippi representative voting for Santos to keep his position in the chamber was Rep. Mike Ezell. Ezell, who is in his first term representing District 4, has not responded to a request for comment at this time.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of District 2, the only Democrat in Mississippi’s delegation, joined Guest in voting for Santos’ removal.

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