(Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:34 PM – Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Andrew Gillum, the 2018 gubernatorial candidate who lost the election to current Governor Ron DeSantis, was found not guilty by a jury on one count and hung on remaining charges that he stole money from his campaign and accepted bribery gifts, including tickets to the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”
The jury exonerated Gillum (D-Fla.), 43, on one count of lying to the FBI but found him guilty on 17 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after Gillum’s May 4th trial ended without a verdict. At that point, prosecutors announced that they would retry Gillum.
However, the prosecution also requested that the judge dismiss the remaining allegations against Gillum and his co-defendant, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, in a one-paragraph motion that was submitted on Monday.
“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,” said David O. Markus, Gillum’s attorney.
Former President Donald Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, who presided over the trial, did not make an immediate decision on the prosecution’s motion on Monday.
As Tallahassee’s former mayor, Gillum was once a rising figure in the Democrat Party. In the 2018 race for governor, he had just barely lost to DeSantis (R-Fla.) by 34,000 ballots, prompting an automatic recount mandated by state law.
Beyond the purported accusations, Gillum’s problems persisted when he was discovered in a Miami Beach hotel room in 2020 with an unnamed person who had reportedly overdosed on hard drugs.
When police arrived on the scene, they said that Gillum was too intoxicated to talk about what had occurred. Despite the fact that no one was ever indicted for a crime connected to the incident, Gillum still withdrew from the public eye for several months.
He also sought treatment for both depression and alcoholism.
According to the prosecution, when Gillum first decided to run for governor, he had quit his $120,000-a-year job with the “People for the American Way” organization, leaving him in financial difficulty. Lettman-Hicks, a former official with the organization and a longtime political advisor to Gillum, was accused of plotting alongside him to transfer donations from his campaign to his personal bank accounts.
The jury also found Gillum not guilty of allegations that he misled the court about his conversations with undercover FBI agents, who pretended to be developers, who paid for a 2016 trip to New York that he took with his brother. The trip included tickets to the popular Broadway production “Hamilton,” which Gillum insisted were given to him by his brother.
The charges against Gillum, according to his defense team, were undeniably politically motivated. Gillum’s lawyers expressed much gratitude, saying that their client can now “resume his life and public service.”
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