Gillum Indicted on 21 Counts

Former Florida candidate accused of wire fraud, conspiracy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2022 1:22 PM CDT
Gillum Indicted on 21 Counts
In this Nov. 10, 2018 photo, Andrew Gillum, then-Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

(Newser) – Andrew Gillum, the Democrat who almost became governor of Florida in 2018, has been indicted on federal charges that could send him to prison for decades. The US Attorney's office for the Northern District of Florida said in a press release Wednesday that the former Tallahassee mayor and his longtime associate Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks have been indicted on 21 counts, including making false statements, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The latter two offenses have maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. The indictment alleges that the offenses occurred between 2016 and 2019, when Gillum was mayor of Tallahassee.

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to commit wire fraud "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." Gillum and Lettman-Hicks also allegedly diverted the funds to a company owned by Lettman-Hicks, which "fraudulently provided the funds, disguised as payroll payments, to Gillum for his personal use," the federal release states. Gillum narrowly lost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018.

Gillum and his lawyers say he is innocent and they will fight to clear his name, NBC reports. "Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political," Gillum said in a statement. "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." NBC describes the indictment as a "new low" for Gillum, who stepped back from politics after a sex scandal in early 2020. (Read more Andrew Gillum stories.)

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