Former Florida Democratic governor candidate Gillum indicted on campaign fraud charges

Former Florida Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum was indicted Wednesday on 21 counts of campaign fraud and related charges.

Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee, narrowly lost his 2018 race against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida announced the indictment of Gillum and his former campaign adviser, Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks.

"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 U.S. attorney said in a news release. "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."

The charges include 19 counts of wire fraud against both defendants, and Gillum is further charged with making false statements to the FBI.

In a statement released by his attorneys, Gillum proclaimed his innocence.

“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” Gillum said. “Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political. ... 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.”

This is not the first time Gillum, once considered a rising star in Florida's Democratic Party, has faced legal issues.

As The Center Square previously reported, Gillum, 41,faced a three-year FBI investigation into Tallahassee corruption during his time as mayor. Gillum eventually was fined $5,000 for accepting gifts in a settlement with the Florida Ethics Commission.

After the 2018 governor election, in which he came within 34,000 votes, or 0.4%, of becoming Florida’s first Black governor, he was found by police incapacitated in a South Beach hotel room with an acquaintance who had overdosed. Bags of crystal meth were found in the room.

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