LTP News Sharing:
By Arian Campo-Flores Follow | The Wall Street Journal
Democrat denies charges, calls federal case political
Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., and Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including wire fraud and arrested Wednesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to court documents
The 21-count indictment against Mr. Gillum, 42 years old, and a political consultant, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, 53, also alleges that they made false statements to the FBI.
The two illegally solicited and obtained funds from various people and entities “through false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose,” according to a news release by the Justice Department.
Mr. Gillum said in a statement provided by his attorneys, “Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political.”
The two defendants used third parties to divert a portion of the funds to a company owned by Ms. Lettman-Hicks, the release said. She then fraudulently provided the funds, which were disguised as payroll payments, to Mr. Gillum for his personal use, according to the release.
The wire fraud charges carry maximum prison terms of 20 years and the charges of making false statements have maximum terms of five years. Ms. Lettman-Hicks agreed to surrender to the FBI on Wednesday morning, according to a court filing. The two defendants were scheduled to appear in federal court in Tallahassee on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Gillum was once considered a rising star in Florida Democratic politics. He narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Author: Frances Rice