After a nearly two-week trial, jurors in Florida began deliberating Friday in a corruption case against former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
Federal prosecutors accuse Gillum of funneling “tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money to personal accounts,” as the AP reports.
Prosecutors say “Gillum was struggling financially after quitting his $120,000-a-year job with the People for the American Way group to run for governor.”
According to prosecutors, both Gillum and his associate Sharon 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.”
Just five years ago, Gillum was a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was 34,000 votes shy of Ron DeSantis in the midterm election (merely .4 percentage points), triggering an automatic recount in Florida’s gubernatorial race.
The former Tallahassee mayor would have become the state’s first Black governor.
In 2022, Gillum was indicted on 21 counts, in which he was also accused of lying to the FBI.
After the indictment, Gillum stated, “I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people. 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,” he continued. “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.”
Each of the 17 counts of wire fraud and the wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison; the charge of lying to the FBI has a five-year maximum sentence. However, it is likely the sentences would be served concurrently.