Andrew Gillum

Ex-Florida Gov. Candidate Gillum Facing Conspiracy, Wire Fraud Charges

Gillum, 42, is charged with 19 counts of wire fraud

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Andrew Gillum, the Ex-Tallahassee mayor and Florida's Democratic nominee for governor in 2018, is facing wire fraud, conspiracy and making false statements charges, authorities said.

A federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment against Gillum and 53-year-old Janet Lettman-Hicks, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida announced Wednesday.

Gillum, 42, made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon, entering the courtroom shackled at the ankles and wrists. He and Lettman-Hicks pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial date was set for Aug. 16. Both were released without bail with instructions not to leave the Northern District of Florida without permission.

The indictment alleges that between 2016 and 2019, 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.

Gillum and Lettman-Hicks 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 indictment alleges.

Both are charged with 19 counts of wire fraud, and Gillum is also charged with making false statements to FBI agents.

“Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political. 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 said in a statement released by his lawyers.

Gillum met with undercover FBI agents posing as developers while he was mayor and during his campaign for governor. His associates sought donations from the agents, and suggested ways to provide money without listing them as political contributions, including paying for a fundraising dinner, according to the indictment.

The agents were asked to contribute $100,000 to Gillum's campaign and said the money could be given to a private company in order to keep the agents' names out of campaign finance documents. The agents said they would want favorable consideration on development projects and were told that wouldn't be a problem, according to the indictment.

The agents also met with Gillum in New York City and paid for his hotel, food and drink, a boat ride and a ticket to see “Hamilton,” according to the indictment.

Later, other FBI agents interviewed Gillum and asked if he had contact with the undercover agents. Gillum told them that he never asked for or received anything from the “developers," and stopped communicating with them after they tried to link contributions to support for their projects, the indictment said.

Gillum was an upset winner of Florida's Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2018 and was the first African American to be nominated for the office by the two major parties. He lost a close race to Republican Ron DeSantis.

In 2019, the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Gillum violated state ethics laws when he accepted gifts during out-of-town excursions with lobbyists and vendors and failed to report them. This included the tickets to "Hamilton." A settlement of $5,000 was agreed to in that case.

In March of 2020, Gillum was found intoxicated in a Miami Beach hotel room with two men after paramedics responded to a drug overdose, police said.

Police said Gillum and another man who had to be hospitalized were apparently under the influence of an “unknown substance."

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum says he is bisexual, in a recent interview.

Officials said officers found baggies of suspected crystal methamphetamine. Gillum later said he was drunk, but did not use meth.

Gillum announced two days later that he was entering a rehabilitation facility, saying he had fallen into depression and alcohol abuse after narrowly losing the governor's race.

Later that year, in a television interview, Gillum announced that he is bisexual.

NBC 6 and AP
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