Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis’ former gubernatorial rival, charged with conspiracy and fraud
Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Florida governor, was arrested on fraud charges
Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who nearly defeated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2018 race, was indicted by federal authorities on Wednesday.
Driving the news: Gillum, 42, was arrested on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and false statements, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida.
Details: The release alleges that between 2016 and 2019, Gillum and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, his adviser, “conspired to commit wire fraud, by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals” under false pretenses.
A portion of these acquired funds would be diverted to a company by the name of Lettman-Hicks, which gave payroll payments to Gillum for personal use, according to the release.
Both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks, who are facing 19 counts of wire fraud, are set to make an initial appearance in a federal court in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
What he’s saying: According to The Hill, the former gubernatorial candidate denied the allegations and called them politically motivated.
“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.”
Flashback: This isn’t the first time Gillum has attracted controversy. State officials filed an ethics complaint in 2019 that alleged he violated the rules by accepting gifts from lobbyists, per Fox News.
A year later, police found him unresponsive in a Miami Beach hotel room with a male escort in the presence of drugs. Per NPR, Gillum denied drug usage but admitted to struggling with alcohol and entered rehab shortly after.
Gillum was first elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in 2003 at the age of 23. In 2014, he won the mayoral race in Tallahassee.