NEW YORK (PIX11) — For the first time, Congressman George Santos addressed the arrest of his former aide on charges of identity theft and wire fraud.

Samuel Miele pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday after he was accused of impersonating a staffer for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in order to raise money for Rep. Santos.

In an exclusive interview with PIX11, Santos responded.

“This was bought up to our attention in November of 2021, late November of 2021. A week later he was terminated and we cut ties with him,” Santos said.

Santos also faced more questions this week about his own finances after confirming to PIX11 that he missed the Aug. 13 deadline to submit his financial disclosure statement to the House Ethics Committee.

Santos explained the delay.

“We just want to make sure that we give absolutely accurate information,” he told PIX11’s Ayana Harry.

Facing up to 20 years in prison, federal prosecutors accused Santos earlier this year of defrauding donors and stealing from his own campaign. Santos told PIX11 he’s committed to clearing his name.

“Everything is very serious, right so and the burden of innocence is upon me,” Santos said.