Democrat and 2018 Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was charged in federal court on Wednesday with 21 felonies related to his failed campaign, which lost to Republican Ron DeSantis.
How about that for Florida dodging a bullet?
“A federal grand jury has returned a twenty-one count indictment against Andrew Demetric Gillum, 42, and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, both of Tallahassee, Florida,” United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida said in a statement.
“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 statement says.
“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.”
“Both defendants are charged with 19 counts of wire fraud,” the statement added.
“Gillum is also charged with making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
BREAKING: Former Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and an associate were indicted Wednesday on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) June 22, 2022
BREAKING: A federal grand jury has returned a 21-count indictment against Democrat Andrew Gillum for Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, And Making False Statements related to his campaign that he lost to Ron DeSantis
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 22, 2022
— U.S. Attorney NDFL (@NDFLnews) June 22, 2022
The Daily Wire reported:
If found guilty, Gillum faces up to 5 years in prison for making false statements, 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and 20 years in prison per charge for wire fraud.
NBC News national political reporter Marc Caputo tweeted that Gillum surrendered to authorities this morning ahead of the indictment being unsealed.
The indictment confirmed that the charges stem from Gillum’s failed campaign against DeSantis, who has turned into one of the most powerful political forces in the world since winning in 2018.
In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic threw the U.S. into chaos, Gillum, who has children and was married, was found in a hotel room with a male escort and suspected baggies of crystal meth.
“Plastic baggies of suspected crystal meth, empty beer bottles and prescription pills are seen scattered among trash and soiled bedding in the shocking images,” the Daily Mail reported. “He was inside room 1107 with two more men, one of them a hunky 30-year-old male escort named Travis Dyson, who was found naked and in the throes of a drug overdose.”
As NBC News noted, Gillum proclaims his innocence and says the indictment is a political move against him.
In a written statement, Gillum and his lawyers proclaimed his innocence. Lettman-Hicks — a candidate for a state House seat — has not returned texts or calls from NBC News requesting comment.
“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. 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.”
Marc Elias, a leading Democratic lawyer, and top criminal defense attorney David Oscar Markus also issued a joint statement said they’ll fight to clear his name.
“The government got it wrong today. 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,” the lawyers said.
Read the United States Department of Justice statement HERE.