by Kevin Seraaj / The Orlando Advocate | On Monday of this week, and after what he alluded to as a 7 year ordeal, prosecutors filed a motion in federal court requesting the dismissal of conspiracy and fraud charges against former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.
The probe, which Gillum called a politically-motivated “witch-hunt,” helped throw his campaign off course in the governor’s race against Ron DeSantis– which he lost by fewer than 33,000 votes. The government’s step-away from further prosecution came after jurors acquitted Gillum of charges that he lied to federal investigators.
Prosecutors were also unable to convince jurors that Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, his political mentor, defrauded political contributors out of money by illegally steering funds to Gillum for his personal use. After the verdict, prosecutors began testing the waters for a possible for re-trial of the fraud charges, but learned, according to The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper, that jurors were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal on 19 charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and committing wire fraud.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks had been accused by prosecutors of having “engaged in an ongoing and evolving scheme to defraud by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals through false and fraudulent representations and promises that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose, but instead using third parties to divert a portion of those funds to P&P, which Lettman-Hicks then fraudulently provided to Gillum for his personal use disguised as payroll payments.”
The jury was not convinced.
Against that backdrop prosecutors filed their one-sentence motion in court asking U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor to “dismiss the indictment against” Gillum and Lettman-Hicks.
Speaking to reporters outside the federal courthouse after the trial ended May 4, Gillum said he and his family have been “under attack on all sides” for the past seven years.
“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,” said Gillum, accompanied by his wife R. Jai. “Everyday people like you and me sometimes get our swing at the ball and today the jury took it.
“I just got to believe that, through this all, maybe one of the things that needed to be revealed to me is that this system is in desperate need of reform. And I’ll just say, ‘to be continued,’” he said.