TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Florida governor, is facing 21 federal charges related to a scheme to seek donations and funnel a portion of them back to him through third parties, the U.S. attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Gillum, 42, and co-defendant Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, face 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum is also charged with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Gillum said in a statement:
"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. 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."
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The U.S. attorney's office said 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 company to fraudulently give money to Gillum disguised as payroll payments, the office said in a press release.
Gillum's initial appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The maximum sentences for each charge are as follows:
- Five years: Making False Statements
- 20 years: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
- 20 years: Wire Fraud
An attorney representing Gillum provided the following statement:
"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."
It's the latest trouble for Gillum, who narrowly lost to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in a race that required a recount.
Gillum served as mayor of Tallahassee before running for governor.
In March 2020, Gillum was found intoxicated and unconscious in a hotel room with two men, including one who works as a male escort. Two days later he entered a rehabilitation center, and later did a television interview and said he's bisexual.