The Democrat was a rising star who narrowly lost to DeSantis in the 2018 governor’s race.
The drawn-out legal saga of former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum came to an end after federal authorities on Monday moved to drop all charges against the one-time Democratic nominee for Florida governor.
Federal prosecutors notified a federal judge that it wanted to dismiss the indictment filed against Gillum and his long-time associate and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks. The move, which was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat, comes nearly two weeks after a jury acquitted Gillum of lying to the FBI and jurors deadlocked on other charges.
“Andrew Gillum had the courage to stand up and say ‘I am innocent,’” Gillum’s legal team of David Oscar Markus, Margot Moss, and Katie Miller said in a statement. “And that is finally being recognized. We want to thank the hard working jury who did their job and explained to the government why it should drop the case. Andrew has endured a lot over the past few years and now can resume his life and public service.”
A federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case on Wednesday when it is anticipated he will act on the motion from prosecutors.
Gillum on Monday afternoon tweeted out a screenshot of the government motion in which he said “But God” and emojis including hands in prayer.
Gillum was a rising Democratic star who narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in the 2018 governor’s race. During the election, DeSantis used an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at Tallahassee City Hall to pound his opponent even though Gillum would not be charged until four years later.
After his narrow loss, Gillum planned to harness his star power to help Democrats in his home state, especially in voter registration efforts. But he removed himself from politics and public life in March 2020 after police found him in a Miami Beach hotel room too inebriated to talk with a male who is suspected to have overdosed. Police found three bags of suspected crystal meth, but Gillum said he’d had too much alcohol to drink but did not do any drugs. Pictures later emerged showing Gillum laying on the floor in his own vomit.
In a national TV interview he did with his wife six months following the incident, Gillum, who has three children, said he was bisexual and expressed remorse.
Federal authorities indicted him on 21 charges in June 2022, laying out a scheme where they contended that Gillum illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in exchange for political support. Gillum pleaded not guilty and contended he was being prosecuted for political reasons even though the charges were brought by the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden’s administration.
The trial began in April and ended with the jury reaching an acquittal on a charge that Gillum had lied to the FBI regarding a 2016 trip he took with his brother to New York that had included a boat tour and tickets to the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” In 2019, Gillum agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to the state ethics commission to settle allegations surrounding the New York trip and a trip to Costa Rica.
But the jury deadlocked on the remaining counts dealing with the complex financial arrangements involving his campaign and non-profit organizations. Initially federal prosecutors announced their intention to retry Gillum on the remaining counts. But the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the jurors had voted 10-2 in favor of not guilty on conspiracy and fraud counts.
In a statement given to the paper, jurors called the two holdouts “biased” against Gillum and that the government’s case was “beyond flimsy.”
On the day he was acquitted, Gillum was asked by a reporter when he would be on the ballot again. He replied: “Oh, get out of here.”