Democrat Andrew Gillum was charged in federal court on Wednesday with 21 felonies related to his failed 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign, which he lost to Republican Ron DeSantis.
“A federal grand jury has returned a twenty-one count indictment against Andrew Demetric Gillum, 42, and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, both of Tallahassee, Florida,” United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida said in a statement.
Gillum claimed in a statement that he was innocent and that the charges were political, even though he is being charged by the Department of Justice, which is overseen by the Biden administration.
“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 statement says. “The Indictment further alleges the defendants 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.”
“Both defendants are charged with 19 counts of wire fraud,” the statement added. “Gillum is also charged with making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
If found guilty, Gillum faces up to 5 years in prison for making false statements, 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and 20 years in prison per charge for wire fraud.
NBC News national political reporter Marc Caputo tweeted that Gillum surrendered to authorities this morning ahead of the indictment being unsealed.
In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic threw the U.S. into chaos, Gillum, who has children and was married, was found in a hotel room with a male escort and suspected baggies of crystal meth.
“Plastic baggies of suspected crystal meth, empty beer bottles and prescription pills are seen scattered among trash and soiled bedding in the shocking images,” the Daily Mail reported. “He was inside room 1107 with two more men, one of them a hunky 30-year-old male escort named Travis Dyson, who was found naked and in the throes of a drug overdose.”