One of the many mysteries swirling around New York's embattled Republican Rep. George Santos has finally been resolved.

A federal court on Long Island today released of the names of two individuals who backed a $500,000 bond for Santos.

Turns out one was his father, Gercino dos Santos Jr. The other was his aunt Elma Santos Preven.

Their support allowed Santos to walk free after he was charged on May 10th with 13 crimes including fraud, money-laundering and theft. He pleaded not guilty.

For weeks, the identity of his backers remained unknown, sparking widespread speculation. On May 25, a group of news organizations including NPR asked the court to make their names public.

Santos and his attorney argued for weeks that releasing the names would expose the congressman's backers to a public backlash and could put them at risk of "attacks and harassment." "There is great concern for the health, safety, and well-being" of the individuals, wrote Joseph Murray, Santos's attorney, in a court filing.

Attorneys representing media outlets argued in a legal filing that transparency serves the public interest.

"That the identities ... have been shielded from public scrutiny, particularly in light of the specific charges against Rep. Santos, only breeds suspicion that [they] could be lobbyists, donors, or even fellow-congressmen or public officials seeking to exert influence," wrote Jeremy Chase and Alexandra Settelmayer with the firm Davis Wright Tremaine.

Two federal judges sided with news organizations, leading to Thursday's release of names.

Santos won election last November in New York's 3rd Congressional District. Shortly after, news accounts revealed that he fabricated much of his personal and professional resume, lying about his family's heritage, his education and his professional accomplishments.Those actions sparked numerous local, state and federal elections — including an ongoing review by the House Ethics Committee — and led to Santos' indictment on federal charges.

Financial backing of Santos' bond was only one unanswered question about the sources of his money. Critics say it's also unclear how he funded his congressional campaign and how he spent that money.Santos has acknowledged some of his deceptions but repeatedly denied any criminal wrongdoing. [Copyright 2023 NPR]