US seeks dismissal of corruption charges against Florida 2018 Democratic governor nominee Gillum
May 15, 2023, 10:39 AM
(Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, file)
Federal prosecutors asked a judge Monday to dismiss the remaining corruption charges against Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018, after a jury deadlocked on all but one count following a trial earlier this month.
Prosecutors had said they intended to retry Gillum after the trial concluded on May 4, but reversed course in a one-paragraph motion that also seeks dismissal of the case against his co-defendant, Sharon Lettman-Hicks.
Jurors acquitted Gillum of lying to the FBI but could not reach a verdict on more than a dozen fraud and conspiracy charges contending Gillum and Lettman-Hicks diverted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for his personal use.
Gillum’s defense team, led by Miami attorney David O. Markus, said in an email that he can now “resume his life and public service.”
“Andrew Gillum had the courage to stand up and say ‘I am innocent.’ 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,” the statement said.
U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, who presided over the trial, did not immediately rule Monday on the motion but generally judges give deference to prosecutorial discretion. There was no comment from the U.S. attorney’s office beyond the court filing.
Gillum, 43, is a former Tallahassee mayor who sought to become the first Black governor in Florida history when he ran in 2018. He lost to Republican Ron DeSantis by less than 34,000 votes, which triggered an automatic recount.
Prosecutors had 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. Lettman-Hicks, a longtime political adviser to Gillum and former executive with the group, was accused of conspiring with Gillum to divert the contributions to his personal accounts. Jurors also deadlocked on those counts.
The jury found Gillum not guilty of charges that he lied about his interactions with undercover FBI agents posing as developers who paid for a 2016 trip he and his brother took to New York, which included a ticket to the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” Gillum contended his brother provided the ticket.
Gillum’s attorneys had argued that the indictment was politically motivated, but Winsor refused last year to dismiss the case, ruling that Gillum and Lettman-Hicks had to be tried together because their actions were so closely intertwined.