Former Florida Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum, who came within a whisker of defeating Republican Ron DeSantis in 2018, was acquitted Thursday of lying to the FBI in a corruption case that also involved illegal use of campaign contributions.
But the federal jury hung on charges that Gillum funneled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money to personal accounts. Prosecutors said they will retry him on those counts. They had claimed Gillum was struggling financially after quitting his $120,000-a-year job with the People for the American Way group to run for governor.
Gillum was acquitted of lying to undercover FBI agents posing as developers who paid for a 2016 trip he took with his brother to New York, including hotel rooms, meals, a boat tour and a ticket to the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”
Outside the courthouse, Gillum thanked his family, wife, legal team and pastor for their support, but took a dig at prosecutors.
“They have quite literally tried to take everything from us. And the beauty is in our system the powers that be don’t always get to decide. Everyday people like you and me sometimes get our swing at the ball,” he said.
Asked about what comes next, Gillum said “sleep” as he walked away from a gaggle of news reporters.
Gillum had faced a potentially lengthy prison sentence if convicted, although, under federal sentencing guidelines, he would have likely gotten far less than the maximum.
The jury came back hung for public relations executive and Gillum adviser, co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks, in the case. Prosecutors said they will also retry her.
Gillum, 43, a former Tallahassee Mayor, sought to become the first Black Governor in Florida history when he took on DeSantis in 2018. Gillum lost by less than 34,000 votes to DeSantis, triggering an automatic recount.
corruption and abuse of power in Florida
May 4, 2023 at 7:30 pm
as many mistakes, Gillam, is made, he would’ve been a better representative for Floridians than the fascist DeSantis
It makes sense. His roots are from southern Italy, where they still are stuck in some really old fashion idealism. That’s how Mussolini was born.
May 5, 2023 at 11:01 am
I voted for Gwen Graham, not Andrew Gillum, in the 2018 Democratic primary. She would have made a great governor.
May 11, 2023 at 2:22 am
It is incredible and blatantly racist that the Feds pursued these charges at all. I’m not saying that Gillum is completely clean here. I honestly don’t know, but consider this. At the same time that this matter was being pursued in Leon County, the same FBI office and same US Attorney were taking a very different approach two counties away in Bay County. There the FBI allowed the Bay County Sheriff’s Department to tip off the subjects of pending searches and intimidate witnesses to the point that some feared for their lives and moved out of the area. Despite this, the FBI still wound up with far better evidence than they had on Gillum. It showed that almost all of the County’s top elected officials, all white Republicans, including a former Florida House Speaker, a sitting Florida Senator, and multiple members of the County Commission conspired in a scheme that stole millions of taxpayer dollars for both Federal and state governments and they lied to cover it all up. Instead of throwing the book at them, as they tried with Gillum for maybe improperly reporting a few tens of thousands $ in private gifts and lying to the undercover FBI agents that inexplicably surrounded Gillum while he was Mayor. The US Attorney for North Florida didn’t even file charges against most of the far worse criminals in Bay County. His office simply ignored the cases until the statute of limitations ran out and then simply filed all the cases away, never to be spoken of again. The only elected officials pursued by the US Attorney were the female Mayor of Lynn Haven and the only Black Lynn Haven City Commissioner although these were very minor characters in the scheme.
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