Andrew Gillum, the rising Democratic star who almost snagged the 2018 Florida governor bid, was indicted on Wednesday (June 22) for wire fraud, related conspiracy charges, and making false statements, NBC News reports.
Gillum and longtime political ally Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks allegedly made "false and fraudulent promises and representations" concerning money they received from 2016 to 2019, according to the Department of Justice.
The "fraudulent" funds were sent to a company owned by Lettman-Hicks, a candidate for a state House seat, and then directed to Gillum's account for his personal use, the DOJ said.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks face 19 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Gillum also was hit with two additional charges for lying to investigators.
The former rising political star is set to appear in a Tallahassee court on Wednesday.
Before the U.S. attorney's office unveiled the charges, Gillum, a former Tallahassee mayor, claimed he was innocent and hinted that the case against him was political.
"I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people," Gillum said in the statement. "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."
Gillum 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.”
The accusations made against Gillum stem from his time as a Florida gubernatorial candidate. In 2018, Gillum lost to current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) by less than 33,000 votes, CNN reports.
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