Federal prosecutors are seeking to dismiss all remaining corruption charges in the case against disgraced former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum after he was acquitted of lying to the FBI while embroiled in other scandals.
(Video Credit: 10 Tampa Bay)
The Justice Department made the request to Judge Allen Winsor on Monday to dismiss the charges against Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks and it is expected to be granted. A federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case Wednesday.
After acquitting Gillum for lying to the FBI earlier in May, jurors deadlocked on over a dozen other counts, including conspiracy and wire fraud. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the jurors had voted 10-2 in favor of not guilty on conspiracy and fraud counts. In a statement, jurors called the two holdouts “biased” against Gillum and that the government’s case was “beyond flimsy.”
In 2018, prosecutors alleged that the beleaguered Democrat and his co-defendant and longtime political adviser, Lettman-Hicks, diverted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for personal use.
The trial began in April and ended with the jury acquitting Gillum on a charge that he lied to the FBI regarding a 2016 trip he took with his brother to New York that included a boat tour and tickets to the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” In 2019, Gillum agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to the state ethics commission to settle allegations surrounding the New York trip and a trip to Costa Rica.
Andrew Gillum had the charges dropped. Two America's. Ridiculous.
— Shaun Humphrey (@ShaunHumphrey65) May 16, 2023
Florida dodged a bullet when Gillum was narrowly defeated in 2018 for governor of the state by then-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R).
After his narrow loss, Gillum eyed voter registration efforts for Democrats in the state. But he removed himself from politics and public life in March 2020 after police found him in a Miami Beach hotel room too drunk and high to talk with officers. He was with a male who overdosed. Police found three bags of suspected crystal meth, but Gillum claimed he did not do any drugs. Pictures later emerged showing Gillum laying on the floor in his own vomit.
Why does the DOJ seem to lose ironclad cases when they're against Democrats and get convictions on the flimsiest cases when they're against Republicans? Disgraced Democrat Andrew Gillum beat the FBI and DOJ despite video evidence of him taking bribes.https://t.co/DyBTid9MYB pic.twitter.com/W7jwnksSdK
— @amuse (@amuse) May 16, 2023
In a national TV interview six months after the incident, Gillum stood with his wife and proclaimed he was bisexual and that he was sorry. He has three children.
Prosecutors made the argument that Gillum and Lettman-Hicks conspired to unlawfully solicit and obtain funds through “false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose.” They also claimed Gillum committed fraud because he was struggling financially after quitting his $120,000-a-year job with the progressive People for the American Way group when he decided to run for governor, according to the Associated Press.
Politico reported, “Federal authorities indicted him on 21 charges in June 2022, laying out a scheme where they contended that Gillum illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in exchange for political support. Gillum pleaded not guilty and contended he was being prosecuted for political reasons even though the charges were brought by the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden’s administration.”
Monday he tweeted a screenshot of the motion to dismiss that said, “But God…”
“Andrew Gillum had the courage to stand up and say ‘I am innocent,’” Gillum’s legal team of David Oscar Markus, Margot Moss, and Katie Miller declared in a statement. “And that is finally being recognized. We want to thank the hard-working jury who did their job and explained to the government why it should drop the case. Andrew has endured a lot over the past few years and now can resume his life and public service.”
The investigation that attempted to snare Gillum led to prison time and guilty pleas in 2019 from former Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his aide, Paige Carter-Smith, and guilty verdicts against their co-defendant, developer John “J.T.” Burnette, at the end of his 2021 trial. But Gillum is poised to walk away unscathed.
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