Key witnesses testify about NYC trip, failed bribery attempts in day two of Andrew Gillum’s federal trial
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Lobbyist Adam Corey was called to testify against his former friend and colleague Andrew Gillum on day two of Gillum’s federal conspiracy and fraud trial.
Corey took the stand Wednesday afternoon after two days of testimony from undercover FBI agent Mike Miller.
Corey testified that he was hired as a lobbyist by Mike Miller, who was posing as a wealthy developer with a bogus company called Southern Pines and introduced him to Andrew Gillum.
“He was a rising star, well respected,” Corey said of Gillum at the time.
Corey answered questions about a now-famous trip to New York City with Gillum, Gillum’s brother, and undercover FBI agents.
Jurors saw a string of text messages about the trip between Corey and Andrew Gillum, including a text from Corey that said, “I got us a room at the Millenium Hotel.”
Defense attorneys suggested based on that text, that Gillum didn’t know that Miller had actually paid for the room.
Corey was asked whether he provided cocaine to the undercover FBI agents. The question came after Miller testified earlier in the day that Corey got the drugs as “party favors” for them.
“I did not do any deal with cocaine with the agents,” Corey said when he was questioned about it Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t believe I arranged anything for them.”
Undercover FBI agent Mike Miller testified for nearly eight hours over the span of the past two days. He was on the stand Wednesday morning for continued cross-examination.
Gillum is not charged with bribery, but much of Miller’s testimony focused on his attempts to bribe Gillum. Miller testified that he tried to bribe Gillum multiple times in 2017, offering a $100,000 contribution in exchange for favorable votes on four developments.
Miller testified he tried to bribe Gillum three times in the same meeting, but Gillum refused.
“The one thing you asked him to do, he wouldn’t do, right?” defense attorney David Markus asked.
“Right,” Miller answered.
Miller testified when he continued to push for “official action” in exchange for the contribution, he said Gillum became “very uncomfortable.”
“You could physically see he got uncomfortable and changed the subject,” Miller testified.
Miller testified he never met with Gillum or spoke to him on the phone after that.
Miller answered questions about a recorded conversation with Gillum’s attorney, Sean Pittman, that was secretly recorded as agents sat at a bar drinking glasses of Blanton.
“It’s a nice bourbon,” Miller testified.
He said Pittman told him he had spooked the Mayor when he pushed for a quid pro quo.
Miller was also questioned about the New York City trip in which the men went to see the Broadway play Hamilton and took a boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty.
The trip - including a picture of Andrew Gillum, Adam Corey, and an FBI agent on board the boat - became fodder in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign.
“... and it becomes a big part of the national conversation?” defense attorney David Markus asked Miller. The judge swiftly sustained the prosecutor’s objection to that question.
Prosecutors did ask several follow-up questions about the trip.
“Is taking a ticket to Hamilton a federal offense?”
“... a hotel room?”
“But it is a federal offense to lie about it?”
“To a federal agent .... yes,” Miller said.
Attorneys for co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks also had a chance to cross-examine Miller Wednesday morning.
“He never discussed P&P Communications with me,” Miller said when asked if Andrew Gillum had ever mentioned Lettman-Hicks’ firm.
Miller testified Gillum’s brother Marcus Gillum did mention P&P Communications to him during a trip to Nashville, but he did not report it to his case agent at the time.
Miller said he didn’t remember the name of the firm and did not pursue it during his involvement in the investigation which stretched from 2015 to approximately May 2017.
Undercover FBI agent Brian Butler testified briefly Wednesday afternoon too. Butler testified that he initially came to Tallahassee to investigate J.T. Burnette and wasn’t familiar with Andrew Gillum.
FBI Agent Evan Hurley took the stand late Wednesday afternoon. He testified about an interview FBI agents did with Andrew Gillum in Cascades Park. A recording of that meeting was played in court.
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