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Democrat Andrew Gillum was charged with 21 felonies in federal court on Wednesday related to his failed 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign, which he lost to now-Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The indictment alleges Gillum and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks conspired to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to divert donations back to Gillum for personal use, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“A federal grand jury has returned a twenty-one count indictment against Andrew Demetric Gillum, 42, and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, both of Tallahassee, Florida. The indictment was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida,” the DOJ stated.
The DOJ press release added:
The Indictment alleges that between 2016 and 2019, defendants Gillum and Lettman-Hicks conspired to commit wire fraud, by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals through false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose. The Indictment further alleges the defendants used third parties to divert a portion of those funds to a company owned by Lettman-Hicks, who then fraudulently provided the funds, disguised as payroll payments, to Gillum for his personal use. Both defendants are charged with 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum is also charged with making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The initial appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 2:00 pm, at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee in the Magistrate Judge’s Courtroom on the main floor.
The maximum terms of imprisonment for the offenses are as follows:
5 years: Making False Statements
20 years: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
20 years: Wire Fraud
NEW: 2018 Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been indicted on 21 counts connected to campaign wire fraud https://t.co/4YpRynxEIE
— Axios (@axios) June 22, 2022
Democrat Andrew Gillum, who lost to Ron DeSantis, has turned himself to law enforcement amid alleged charges that are forthcoming.
Gillum claims he is innocent and that these charges are "political."
He is being charged by Biden's DOJ. https://t.co/RER5GgyC2J
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 22, 2022
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks are scheduled to appear in court in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday.
“Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political,” Gillum said in a statement Wednesday.
“There’s been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now,” he added.
“The government got it wrong today. The evidence in this case is clear and will show that Mr. Gillum is innocent of all charges,” Gillum’s lawyers, Marc Elias and David Markus, said in the statement.
“We look forward to putting this case to rest and giving Andrew and his family peace of mind once and for all,” they added.
Gillum made national headlines back in 2020 when authorities found him in a hotel room with a male escort and suspected crystal meth in tiny baggies.
“Plastic baggies of suspected crystal meth, empty beer bottles, and prescription pills are seen scattered among the trash and soiled bedding in the shocking images,” the Daily Mail reported. “He was inside room 1107 with two more men, one of them a hunky 30-year-old male escort named Travis Dyson, who was found naked and in the throes of a drug overdose.”