After deliberating for more than five days, a federal jury voted to acquit former Democratic political star Andrew Gillum on the charge that he made false statements and lied to the FBI when they interviewed him in 2017.
However, the 12-member jury was unable to reach a verdict on the “charges related to whether Mr. Gillum and a close associate diverted campaign funds when Mr. Gillum was running for governor.”
Tallahassee’s Federal District Court Judge Allen C. Windsor “declared a mistrial on one conspiracy charge and 17 fraud charges against Mr. Gillum and Sharon Lett-man Hicks,” a mentor and friend to Gillum since his college days.
After the jury’s decision last week, Lettman-Hicks said, “(A)s far as I’m concerned, they realized 2 through 19 is bogus. Now hopefully we can get our lives back, when the government decides to stop wasting its money, our money, our tax dollars, all of your tax dollars.”
“They’ve quite literally tried to take everything from us. And the beauty is that in our system, the powers that be don’t always get to decide. Everyday people like you and me sometimes get our swing at the ball,” added Gillum.
Of note, the defense for Gillum did not call a single witness to the stand during the trial, and Lettman-Hicks’s team only called one. As David O. Markus, the defense attorney representing Gillum, said about his client, “This is a good man, a public servant,” continuing with “It’s difficult to understand why we’re even here.”
Even though Gillum says he just wants to “sleep” now, this is only the tip of the iceberg for the former Tallahassee mayor who was also indicted last year “on charges of conspiracy [and] wire fraud.”
The federal jury remained hung on the “charges that Gillum funneled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money to personal accounts.” Prosecutors have already come forward saying that they aim to retry Gillum on those counts, alleging that after Gillum quit his job with People for the American Way, where he was salaried at $120,000 a year, he was suffering financially.
Thus, the nightmare for Gillum will most likely continue after conduct during his gubernatorial campaign first came into question when he narrowly lost to Ron DeSantis in 2018. Despite emerging from the initial scrutiny “after securing the Democratic nomination” as the “progressive darling who would have become Florida’s first Black governor,” Gillum ultimately lost by approximately 32,000 votes to the then largely unknown Republican candidate DeSantis, who “is now considered a likely 2024 presidential contender.”