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Former Democrat candidate for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum has been charged with a whopping 21 felonies related to his campaign.
Gillum lost to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018 and the charges against him were doled out on Wednesday in federal court.
The Department of Justice detailed the charges in a press release.
“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. The indictment was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida,” it said.
“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 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. Gillum is also charged with making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the DOJ said.
“The initial appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 2:00 pm, at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee in the Magistrate Judge’s Courtroom on the main floor,” it said.
“The maximum terms of imprisonment for the offenses are as follows: 5 years: Making False Statements, 20 years: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, 20 years: Wire Fraud,” it said.
Gillum issued his own press release, defending himself of the charges, The Tennessee Democrat reported.
“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” the Democrat 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,” he said.
Democratic Party elections attorney Marc Elias and David Oscar Markus, a Miami criminal-defense attorney, said that Gillum would win the case.
“The government got it wrong today,” he said. “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 report said.
The investigation into Gillum, which has been chronicled for years by the Tallahassee Democrat, involved the same undercover FBI agents who posed as out-of-town developers willing to cough up bribes to local officials to advance their purported real-estate deals.
“Operation Capital Currency,” which began in 2015, led to federal bribery convictions against former Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox, his longtime aide Paige Carter-Smith and wealthy businessman and political donor John “J.T.” Burnette. All three were sentenced last year to federal prison stints.
According to the latest indictment, former lobbyist and one-time Gillum friend Adam Corey suggested to one of the agents that he pay for dinner at a campaign fundraiser for his gubernatorial political committee, Forward Florida.
Corey hosted the fundraiser in April 2016 at The Edison restaurant, which he co-owns. The undercover agent paid $4,386 for the dinner.
The indictment also referenced a notorious trip Gillum took in August 2016 with Corey and others to New York City, where they palled around with the undercover agents.