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Andrew Gillum indicted on fraud charges stemming from his time as Tallahassee mayor

In this Nov. 10, 2018 file photo, Andrew Gillum, then-Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla.
Steve Cannon
In this Nov. 10, 2018 file photo, Andrew Gillum, then-Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla.

A federal grand jury has indicted former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on fraud charges.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Florida, Gillum is facing charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

The 21-count indictment alleges that the crimes took place between 2016 - 2019 — which covers most of the time Gillum was in office. Gillum served as mayor between 2014-2018. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for governor in 2018 against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition Sharon Lettman-Hicks was also indicted on counts of wire fraud. Lettman-Hicks is running for Florida House District 8, which is Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander's seat. Alexander recently announced he's not running again after allegations of sexual harassment against him were made public.

According to the press release, the indictment alleges that between 2016-2019 Gillum and Lettman-Hicks "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."

Furthermore, the defendants allegedly "used third parties to divert a portion of those funds to a company owned by Lettman-Hicks, who then fraudulently provided the funds, disguised as payroll payments, to Gillum for his personal use," according to the press release.

An initial appearance is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.

Marc Elias, Partner at the Elias Law Group and David Oscar Markus of Markus/Moss released the following statement regarding the proceedings involving Andrew Gillum today:

"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".

Andrew Gillum has released the following 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. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now”.

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Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.