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Once-rising Democrat star, Florida governor candidate Gillum on trial for federal corruption charges

Gillum and his former campaign advisor have pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them

April 18, 2023 1:49pm

Updated: April 18, 2023 1:49pm

The trial for former Democrat-rising star Andrew Gillum – who lost the 2018 Florida governor race by less than 1% of the vote – is now on trial on federal corruption charges, with opening statements starting Tuesday.

Gillum and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a former campaign adviser, also face charges for allegedly lying to the FBI, in the trial taking place in a federal courthouse in Tallahassee.

Gillum was the former mayor of Tallahassee before running for Florida governor. He lost to GOP nominee Ron DeSantis by fewer than 34,000 votes, or 0.4% of the vote.

Gillum is charged with accepting into his personal account nearly $57,000 in political contributions illegally funneled through the Lettman-Hicks company.

Prosecutors also allege Gillum lied about his interactions with undercover FBI agents who posed as developers and paid for a trip he and his brother took to New York in 2016 that included a ticket to the Broadway show “Hamilton.” 

Gillum and Lettman-Hicks have pleaded not guilty.

In the aftermath of the 2018 loss, Gillum was found in 2020 in a Miami Beach hotel room with a man who had apparently overdosed on drugs. Police reported that Gillum was too inebriated to explain what had happened. 

Gillum said he fell into a depression after the defeat. He was not charged with any crimes in the incident.