Last Updated on June 22, 2022
Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial election, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and wire fraud charges. Gillum, 42, has denied the allegations and said there is a “target on my back.”
Federal prosecutors allege that from 2016-19, Gillum and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, conspired to commit wire fraud by illegally soliciting and getting funds from various people by making “false and fraudulent promises” that the money would be used for a “legitimate purpose.”
According to court documents, Lettman-Hicks then fraudulently disguised the funds as payroll payments “to Gillum for his personal use.”
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks have been charged with 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum was also charged with making false statements to FBI agents and could be forcing more than 40 years in federal prison if convicted.
“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people. Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political,” Andrew Gillum wrote in a statement shortly after the indictment.
“Throughout my career I have always stood up for the people of Florida and have spoken truth to power. 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,” Gillum continued in the statement that was provided to reporters by his lawyer, Marc Elias.
Matt Dixon of Politico says he’s received this statement from former Mayor Andrew Gillum and his legal team, and says that it is likely related to long thought dormant investigation into his 2018 gubernatorial run campaign finances. pic.twitter.com/PZxdqtYf2l
— Our Tallahassee (@OurTallahassee) June 22, 2022
The latest news is not the first controversy surrounding Andrew Gillum since the 2018 election.
In 2020, Gillum checked himself into a rehabilitation facility after admitting to struggles with addiction. That announcement came just days after Gillum was found “inebriated” and initially unresponsive in a hotel room at the Mondrian South Beach, where authorities found him with a male companion and bags of suspected crystal methamphetamine.
First responders arrived after Gillum reportedly suffered an overdose.
Gillum was not charged over the 2020 incident, though he was named in a March 13 police report.