In a profound reversal of fortune for a onetime rising start in the Democrat Party, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was indicted Wednesday on 21 federal criminal charges that include wire fraud, false statements, and conspiracy, as the Associated Press reports.
Also indicted with Gillum was his former adviser and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, who faces wire fraud charges connected to her alleged role in funneling money to Gillum after assisting in a plan to illegally solicit campaign contributions in exchange for political favors, according to Politico.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida explained that 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.”
In response to the charges, Gillum declared, according to the Washington Examiner, “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 added.
Representing Gillum in the case is controversial Democrat attorney Marc Elias who stated in reaction to the indictment, “The government got it wrong today. The evidence in this case is clear and will show that Mr. Gillum 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.”
Though Gillum was once viewed as an up-and-coming force in the Democrat Party and was only narrowly defeated by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018, he subsequently ran into trouble in March of 2020 when he was found unconscious and under the influence of drugs in a hotel room with two men, one of whom was known to be a male escort, as the AP noted.
Soon after, Gillum went into a rehabilitation program and ultimately went public with his status as a bisexual, a time at which his wife stated that she was concerned only with “what’s between us and what agreement do we make to be in a relationship with each other.”
The false statements charges Gillum is now facing carry up to five years in prison, the wire fraud counts carry a maximum of 20 years incarceration, and the conspiracy charges also bring a possible 20 years imprisonment, and though the beleaguered Democrat remains innocent until proven guilty, this case just underscores the fact that by electing DeSantis as the state’s chief executive nearly four years ago, Florida made the right decision in every conceivable way.