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Update: Andrew Gillum pleads not guilty in federal fraud case involving campaign contribution dollars

A masked man in a blue suit stands before a throng of cameras.
Lydell Rawls
WFSU Public Media
Andrew Gillum on the Federal Courthouse stairs after indictment.

Update: Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against him by a federal grand jury earlier this month.

Gillum appeared in a federal courtroom wearing handcuffs on Wednesday. He told the judge he had surrendered his passport before the 2 p.m. hearing at a U.S. Court in Tallahassee. He's been released on his own recognizance until the trial. District Judge Allen C. Winsor will preside over the trial, which is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.

Gillum's co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks also pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against her in the indictment. Lettman-Hicks is a Democratic candidate for Florida House District 8. The state Division of Elections' website shows she's still in the race.

Original Story: Andrew Gillum indicted on fraud charges stemming from his time as Tallahassee mayor

A federal grand jury has indicted former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on fraud charges.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Florida, Gillum is facing charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

The 21-count indictment alleges that the crimes took place between 2016 - 2019 — which covers most of the time Gillum was in office. Gillum served as mayor between 2014-2018. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for governor in 2018 against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition Sharon Lettman-Hicks was also indicted on counts of wire fraud. Lettman-Hicks is running for Florida House District 8, which is Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander's seat. Alexander recently announced he's not running again after allegations of sexual harassment against him were made public.

According to the press release, the indictment alleges that between 2016-2019 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."

Furthermore, the defendants allegedly "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," according to the press release.

An initial appearance is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.

Marc Elias, Partner at the Elias Law Group and David Oscar Markus of Markus/Moss released the following statement regarding the proceedings involving Andrew Gillum today:

"The government got it wrong today. The evidence in this case is clear and will show that Mr. Gillum is innocent of all charges. We look forward to putting this case to rest and giving Andrew and his family peace of mind once and for all".

Andrew Gillum has released the following statement:

"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. 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."

Valerie Crowder is a freelance journalist based in Tallahassee, Fl. She's the former ATC host/government reporter for WFSU News. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.