Former Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum was federally indicted this week on 21 federal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy after it was discovered he allegedly funneled campaign funds to himself for personal use.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida accused Gillum of illegally soliciting campaign contributions and promising political favors in exchange for campaign support.
Gillum and a co conspirator, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, allegedly fraudulently raised funds from 2016 to 2019, and then diverted a portion of the funds to a third-party company owned by Lettman-Hicks, who recorded the funds as payroll payments to Gillum, who then spent the funds on personal expenses, violating federal law.
Prosecutors say 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.”
Gillum has maintained his innocence since the accusations surfaced. “I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” Gillum said in a written statement.
“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.”
Gillum is being represented by Democratic attorney Marc Elias. “The government got it wrong today,” Elias said this week in response to the charges. “The evidence in this case is clear and will show Mr. Gillum is innocent of all charges.”
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