Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum indicted on wire fraud charges
Gillum and his co-defendant entered not guilty pleas during their first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has been indicted on multiple charges connected to campaign contribution fraud before and during his 2018 run for governor of Florida.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida unsealed the indictment Wednesday, showing Gillum has 21 counts against him. The indictment alleges that Gillum accepted gifts and campaign contributions from an undercover FBI agent.
Gillum is facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to FBI agents, the court document says.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks was also listed as a defendant in the indictment.
It alleges that between 2016 and 2019, the two conspired to commit wire fraud by soliciting and obtaining funds from various people and companies through false promises that the money would be used strictly for the campaign.
The indictment also says the two used third parties to divert some of the money to a company Lettman-Hicks owned, then she would give the money to Gillum, disguised as payroll payments, for his personal use. According to the details laid out in the charges, at least $56,752 was paid out to Gillum via Lettman-Hicks’ company, P&P Communications.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks face 19 counts of wire fraud. Lettman-Hicks had just qualified to run as a candidate for the District 8 seat in the Florida House of Representatives on June 17, according to the Florida Secretary of State’s Divison of Elections.
Gillum and his attorney released the following statements Wednesday morning:
“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,” attorney Marc Elias 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,” Gillum said. “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.”
Both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks entered not guilty pleas to the charges during their first court appearance Wednesday afternoon. Gillum was dressed in a suit and wearing handcuffs and shackles around his ankles during the court appearance.
The two were released to await trial, which is now set for August 16.
You can view the indictment below or follow this link to see the court document.
The Gillum indictment is another black eye for Florida’s capital city. While the most serious charges against him are not directly related to his actions as mayor, this is the third time in less than four years that federal prosecutors have brought charges surrounding Tallahassee city leaders.
Below you’ll find a timeline of events, including links to our previous coverage, regarding Gillum’s political career and the FBI’s investigation into Tallahassee city politics.
Timeline of events for Andrew Gillum, FBI investigation into Tallahassee politics
- 2003: Gillum elected Tallahassee City Commissioner at age 23, becoming the youngest person ever to serve on the commission
- 2014: Gillum elected Mayor of Tallahassee
- 2015: FBI investigation into Tallahassee development deals begins
- August 2016: Undercover FBI agents arrive in Tallahassee and begin meeting with City Commissioner Scott Maddox & developer JT Burnette
- June 2017: Two federal subpoenas served at Tallahassee City Hall seeking development documents
- 2017: Photo surfaces of Gillum on a 2016 outing in New York City with undercover FBI agents
- Aug. 2018: Gillum wins Democratic primary for Florida governor
- Oct. 2018: Documents show undercover FBI agents provided Hamilton tickets during Gillum’s NYC trip
- Nov. 2018: Gillum narrowly loses Florida gubernatorial race to Ron DeSantis
- Dec. 2018: Scott Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith indicted on 44 counts
- Gov. Rick Scott suspends Maddox from city commission
- May 2019: JT Burnette indicted
- June 2019: Ethics commission finds Gillum violated ethics laws, he agrees to pay a fine
- Aug. 2019: Maddox, Carter-Smith plead guilty to honest services fraud and tax fraud conspiracy
- They agree to testify against Burnette
- March 2020: Gillum found drunk inside Miami Beach hotel, alongside overdosing man, with drugs present (no arrests)
- Aug. 2021: Burnette convicted of extortion, honest services mail fraud and lying to the FBI
- Sept. 2021: Maddox sentenced to 5 years, Carter-Smith to 2 years
- June 2022: Gillum indicted on federal fraud charges tied to his time as mayor, his campaign for governor, and the FBI corruption probe of city hall
This is a developing story. Stay with WCTV as we continue to bring you the latest information.
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