A potential documentary about beleaguered Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) “fizzled” after the controversial congressman made it clear he wanted to be paid, the journalist and filmmaker who worked on the project told MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Wednesday.
Blake Zeff spoke with serial liar Santos “for several hours over a course of several months” but the project “fell apart” because Santos “wanted lots of money from us,” said Zeff, who shared multiple audio clips of his interviews with Santos, conducted earlier this year, on Melber’s “The Beat.”
“That’s sort of a journalistic no-no where you don’t really pay for stories,” Zeff explained, noting it showed how Santos is “looking to monetize the office.”
“We had meetings about a documentary. They sort of fizzled,” Zeff recalled. “Then in talking with him, it became clear that he was interested in, you know, ‘How big was the budget? I can’t talk about money while I’m in my congressional office so I’ll have to call you separately when I’m not in my office to talk about that kind of stuff.’”
“We never got to that point as my team and I were not interested in giving him a dime,” Zeff added.
On Twitter, meanwhile, Zeff said he “ditched the idea” of the documentary when Santos “made clear he’d want millions of $ to be in it.”
Zeff’s revelation on MSNBC came hours after Santos was charged with wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to the House of Representatives in a 13-count indictment. Santos denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty.