Andrew Gillum hit with federal indictment

Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum, who was once caught in a hotel room with drugs and a male escort, has been hit with a 21-count federal indictment for fraudulent fundraising and other raps, officials said Wednesday.

Gillum, who narrowly lost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018, conspired with his mentor, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, to reroute campaign contributions for personal use, federal prosecutors said.

Lettman-Hicks, who was also indicted, helped to divert a portion of the donations to a company she controlled and masked the fraud by painting the funds as payroll payments to Gillum.

The former Tallahassee mayor asserted his innocence ahead of a court appearance this afternoon.

Gillum claimed he was innocent ahead of a court appearance.
AP
sharon lettman-Hicks
Sharon Lettman-Hicks was also indicted.
Facebook/Sharon Lettman-Hicks

“Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity,” he said in a statement. “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 receded from the public eye after he was found with an overdosed male prostitute in a South Beach hotel room in March 2020. Married with three children, Gillum came out as bisexual after the episode.

Long considered a rising Democratic phenom in Florida, he lost to DeSantis by a razor-thin margin of roughly 30,000 votes.

gillum desantis
Gillum lost to DeSantis by roughly 30,000 votes.
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Gillum’s attorney, Marc Elias, said his client was innocent of the charges against him.

“The government got it wrong today,” Gillum’s legal team told NBC. “The evidence in this case is clear and will show that Mr. Gillum is innocent of all charges. We look forward to putting this case to rest and giving Andrew and his family peace of mind once and for all.”

Some of the charges stemmed from conduct predating Gillum’s run for statewide office, according to federal prosecutors.

He is also charged with lying to investigators.

Gillum faces a maximum prison term of 20 years in prison for the top counts against him and is expected to appear in a Florida courtroom at 2 p.m.