Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democrat who narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial election to Ron DeSantis, has been charged with 21 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.
The indictment names Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, one of his top advisers on his gubrernatorial campaign. “The Indictment alleges that between 2016 and 2019, defendants 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,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The DOJ added that Gillum and Lettman-Hicks 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.”
NBC News reported earlier on Wednesday that Gillum would soon be charged. He maintained his innocence in a statement to the outlet. “I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” he said. “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.”
Gillum’s first court appearance is slated for Wednesday afternoon in Tallahassee.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.