Gillum not guilty of lying to FBI, remaining 18 charges declared a mistrial after jury deadlock
Prosecutors said the politician and his advisor are not in the clear
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A jury acquitted former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum of lying to the FBI Thursday afternoon. Jurors were deadlocked on all the other charges against him and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks.
As an official read the verdict on the first of the 19 counts the pair face, tears welled in the politician’s eyes. Lettman-Hicks, supporters and loved ones of the pair embraced and cried.
The court declared a mistrial for the other 18 counts, which include charges of wire fraud and conspiracy.
Later, Gillum stood beside his wife outside the courthouse, squinting in the afternoon sun. She caressed the side of his head as he addressed the jury’s decision.
The former candidate for Florida governor celebrated the acquittal, but he spoke solemnly before departing. Not everyone in similar circumstances to Gillum had the resources to reach this outcome, he said.
The trial revealed the justice system is “in desperate need of real reform,” the former mayor said. He alluded to taking action on it in the future.
“And I’ll just say, to be continued,” he said.
Gillum hugged Lettman-Hicks and supporters after his remarks. He paused on the concrete courthouse steps to take a selfie with a fan before entering his usual transport, a black SUV, and departing. Allies cheered.
The jury reached the verdict on the charge of lying to the FBI just after 3 p.m. Thursday, following five days and more than 30 hours of deliberation. The group began weighing the charges Friday afternoon.
During the week, the jury struggled to reach a consensus on the other 18 charges. Members told the judge again Thursday morning they could not reach a decision, and Gillum’s attorney David Markus asked three times during deliberations for a mistrial. The decision-making process also paused Wednesday after Lettman-Hicks’s defense uncovered social media posts about the trial from a juror.
Throughout the trial, the government tried to outline a pattern of misconduct between Gillum and Lettman-Hick’s firm, P&P Communications. Prosecutors said Thursday they intend to bring the politician and his former campaign advisor to court again. Gillum cannot be tried on the count of lying to the FBI again because the jury acquitted him.
The charges stem from an undercover FBI investigation that looked into the pair’s use of donations during Gillum’s 2018 run for governor, in which his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated the Democrat.
Several undercover FBI agents testified on the 2016 trip to New York City involving Gillum, his brother Marcus Gillum, former colleague Adam Corey and the agents.
The defense teams for Gillum and Lettman-Hicks spent hours of cross-examination trying to poke holes in their testimony.
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