Dem gubernatorial candidate faces 21 federal felony fees

Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Florida governor, is going through 21 federal fees associated to a scheme to hunt donations and funnel a portion of them again to him by means of third events, the U.S. legal professional’s workplace introduced Wednesday.

Gillum, 42, and co-defendant Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, face 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum can also be charged with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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The U.S. legal professional’s workplace stated the pair “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.”

Lettman-Hicks then used her firm to fraudulently give cash to Gillum disguised as payroll funds, the workplace stated in a press launch.

“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 stated in an announcement launched by his legal professionals.

Gillum met with undercover FBI brokers posing as builders whereas he was mayor and through his marketing campaign for governor. His associates sought donations from the brokers, and recommended methods to offer cash with out itemizing them as political contributions, together with paying for a fundraising dinner, based on the indictment.

The brokers have been requested to contribute $100,000 to Gillum’s marketing campaign and stated the cash could possibly be given to a non-public firm with the intention to preserve the brokers’ names out of marketing campaign finance paperwork.

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The brokers stated they might need favorable consideration on growth initiatives and have been advised that wouldn’t be an issue, based on the indictment.

The brokers additionally met with Gillum in New York Metropolis and paid for his resort, food and drinks, a ship journey, and a ticket to see “Hamilton,” based on the indictment.

Later, different FBI brokers interviewed Gillum and requested if he had contact with the undercover brokers. Gillum advised them that he by no means requested for or obtained something from the “developers,” and stopped speaking with them after they tried to hyperlink contributions to assist for his or her initiatives, the indictment stated.

It’s the most recent hassle for Gillum, who misplaced to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in a race that required a recount. Gillum fell 32,464 votes wanting being elected out of greater than 8.2 million ballots forged.

Gillum completed simply 0.4 p.c behind now-Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis within the 2018 election. DeSantis has since develop into a nationwide determine and some of the well-liked governors in the US. Gillum has confronted a collection of scandals and authorized issues.

Gillum served as mayor of Tallahassee earlier than operating for governor. He received a crowded Democratic major towards higher funded candidates with 34.4% of the vote, beautiful political observers. The charismatic politician received over the hearts of hardcore Democratic activists and ran a powerful grassroots marketing campaign.

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After dropping, Gillum was nonetheless seen as a rising star in Democratic politics and was employed as a CNN analyst.

Then, in March 2020, Gillum was discovered intoxicated and unconscious in a resort room with two males, together with one who works as a male escort. Two days later he entered a rehabilitation middle, and later did a tv interview during which he stated he’s bisexual.

The Related Press contributed to this text

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