Former DeSantis opponent Andrew Gillum indicted on multiple fraud charges
The scandal-plagued onetime rising star in the Florida Democratic Party was charged by the U.S. Attorney's office on Wednesday morning.
Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Ron DeSantis (R) during the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race, was indicted in federal court on Wednesday on charges of fraud.
The office for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida announced the charges against Gillum and one of his longtime advisers, Sharon Letterman-Hicks, after a grand jury returned a 21-count indictment.
The charges allege that from 2016 to 2019, Gillum and Letterman-Hicks, who is also the CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, illegally solicited funds under false pretenses.
The pair allegedly used third parties to funnel funds to a company owned by Letterman-Hicks, which she would in turn give to Gillum for his personal use. Each is facing 19 counts of wire fraud, and Gillum has been charged with making false statements to the FBI.
Gillum, formerly the mayor of Tallahassee, denied any wrongdoing and released a statement Wednesday that said, "I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people. Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political."
Two years after his loss to DeSantis, Gillum was found in a Miami Beach hotel room with a male escort who was being treated for an apparent drug overdose.
Gillum, who is married to a woman, said he had turned to drinking to cope with his loss to DeSantis and checked himself into a rehabilitation center. He additionally faced an FBI corruption investigation during his time as mayor of Tallahassee.
In a statement to NBC News, Gillum's legal team, which includes top Democratic attorney Marc Elias, said, "The government got it wrong today. The evidence in this case is clear and will show that Mr. Gillium is innocent of all charges. We look forward to putting this case to rest and giving Andrew and his family peace of mind once and for all."