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Feds charge campaign aide to George Santos with impersonating House staffer

Feds charge campaign aide to George Santos with impersonating House staffer

The indictment doesn’t name Rep. George Santos, who pleaded not guilty in May to federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

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NEW YORK — A former campaign aide to indicted Rep. George Santos was himself indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly impersonating a House leadership aide while soliciting contributions for Santos’ campaign, according to court papers unsealed Wednesday. The former Santos fundraiser, Samuel Miele, pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday and was released on $150,000 bond, according to a spokesperson for the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office. He is charged with wire fraud and identity theft. Kevin Marino, a lawyer for Miele, said, “Mr. Miele is not guilty of these charges. He looks forward to complete vindication at trial as soon as possible.” The indictment doesn’t name the member of House leadership whom Miele falsely claimed he worked for, but the New York Times and other outlets previously reported that he impersonated the former chief of staff to Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The indictment also doesn’t name Santos, who pleaded not guilty in May to federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds, but prosecutors disclosed that Miele worked for Santos in a separate letter to the court. Miele worked for Santos during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, helping raise money for Santos’ congressional bid. Miele received a 15 percent commission on the money he raised for the campaign, according to the indictment. Between August and December 2021, Miele used a fake email account in the name of the House aide to solicit contributions to Santos’ campaign, prosecutors said. Last September, Miele admitted in an email to Santos to “faking my identity to a big donor,” saying he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do,” according to the indictment.