Federal judge dismisses Andrew Gillum case after mistrial
A federal judge has agreed to dismiss charges against former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, after a mistrial on conspiracy and fraud charges.
Prosecutors on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor to dismiss an indictment against Gillum and his political mentor, Sharon Lettman-Hicks. Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and committing fraud for allegedly bilking political contributors out of money and illegally steering it to Gillum for his personal use. Gillum also was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.
Following a trial and five days of contentious deliberations, jurors on May 4 acquitted Gillum of lying to investigators but were unable to reach a verdict on the conspiracy and fraud charges.
The charges stemmed from activities between 2016 and 2019, as Gillum’s political stature blossomed. Gillum drew national attention after he won the Democratic primary in 2018 and became the state’s first Black gubernatorial nominee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated Gillum in the general election. Gillum has maintained his innocence.
“This 7 year struggle is now over. Finally. Our jury system is the greatest check on an overreaching government that we have. Alexander Hamilton called it back then and it’s still true today,” David Markus, an attorney for Gillum, said in a text message Tuesday.
Gillum was accused of lying to investigators about his interactions with undercover agents who posed as developers. Activities that were scrutinized included a ticket to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” provided to Gillum during a New York City visit.
The probe into Gillum was part of a lengthy investigation into public corruption that ensnared Scott Maddox, a former Tallahassee mayor and former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.
Prosecutors did not elaborate on their reasons for dropping the charges against Gillum, but the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported that jurors were deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal on the conspiracy and fraud charges.