By Zachary Stieber
The man who ran against Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race has been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements.
Andrew Gillum, also a former mayor of Tallahassee, solicited campaign payments and gifts like Broadway tickets from undercover FBI agents who were posing as real estate developers and, according to the grand jury indictment, which was obtained by The Epoch Times after it was unsealed on June 22.
Gillum failed to disclose the payments and gifts, as mandated by federal law.
Further, Gillum later told FBI agents that the developers never offered or gave him anything, which was false, according to court documents.
Gillum is also accused of conspiring with an associate, Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, to defraud people by asking for funds that they represented would be used for Gillum’s campaign, but of which a portion was diverted to a corporation Lettman-Hicks was running. Gillum was paid directly with some of the money, authorities say.
Gillum’s position at the business “was only a cover to provide him funds that he lost,” the indictment states.
Gillum allegedly received over $56,000 through the scheme “for his personal use.”
Florida law prohibits candidates from using campaign funds to defray living expenses other than expenses incurred in the course of campaigning.
If convicted of the 21 counts, Gillum faces decades in prison.
Lettman-Hicks was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
They were both due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Gillum, a Democrat who lost to DeSantis, denied wrongdoing after the indictment was released.
“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people. Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political,” Gillum said in a statement.
“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, a onetime CNN contributor, was previously found drunk in a hotel room where suspected drugs were recovered, according to a police report from Miami Beach.
Gillum was discovered naked in the room “unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state,” officers wrote.
After the report was made public in 2020, Gillum apologized and said that he has never used drugs. He was not charged.