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Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was indicted on charges including conspiracy and 19 counts of wire fraud, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Gillum, who was once mayor of Tallahassee, is accused of acting in concert with associate Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks to solicit funds using false representations and promises.
“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,” a Justice Department press release said.
The Justice Department did not go into details of the allegations, only to say the alleged scheme went on from 2016 to 2019. Local reporting from the Tallahassee Democrat indicated that the charges are based on campaign contributions that Gillum and Lettman-Hicks allegedly solicited from undercover FBI agents.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks during a Democratic gubernatorial debate at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers on July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Gillum is also charged with making a false statement to the FBI.
In a statement issued by his campaign and published by the Tallahassee outlet, Gillum denied wrongdoing.
“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.”
Gillum is scheduled for an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
The former mayor nearly became Florida governor in 2018, losing a close race to current Gov. Ron DeSantis. Since then, he has faced a string of troubles.
In 2019, state officials brought an ethics complaint against Gillum after finding probable cause that he committed ethics violations by accepting gifts from lobbyists in 2016.
In 2020, Gillum entered rehab after police found him unresponsive in a Miami Beach hotel room with two other men, where officers found what they believed to be crystal methamphetamine. While he denied using drugs, Gillum did admit to struggling with alcohol.