Things just keep getting worse for Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democrat who gave Ron DeSantis a run for his money in the 2018 gubernatorial election. In March 2020, Gillum found himself embroiled in an almost too-strange-to-be true sex scandal involving a male escort. Now, he’s facing a 21-count federal indictment on charges including wire fraud and making false statements.
The 26-page indictment unsealed today accuses Gillum and close advisor Sharon Lettman-Hicks of illegally drumming up campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 in return for political favors, including contracts with the city of Tallahassee. Lettman-Hicks is accused of pushing the donations through to her company, P&P Communications, and making the money available for Gillum’s personal use. But what the two didn’t realize was that some of the donors they were hitting up were actually undercover FBI agents. Gillum and Lettman-Hicks plead not guilty to federal corruption charges at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee on June 22.
Former Tallahassee mayor and married father of three, Andrew Gillum was once considered a promising force in the Democratic party after losing Florida’s governor’s race to Ron DeSantis by nearly 30,000 votes in 2018. But he was forced to fall back from politics and his role as a CNN political analyst after the news broke that he was discovered intoxicated in a Miami hotel room with a male escort. The paramedics were called to the room to perform CPR on Gillum’s male companion after an apparent overdose. Officers also found what was assumed to be crystal meth in the room.
Gillum and his wife, R. Jai, appeared on Tamron Hall’s talk show to clear the air and address the damning video and photo evidence of the night in question that was going viral. In the September 2020 episode, Gillum revealed that he identifies as bisexual and that he was entering treatment for alcoholism and depression.
Although Lettman-Hicks is not responding to requests for comment on this latest scandal, Gillum took the time to defend himself and his record. “I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” Gillum said in a statement to NBC News. “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.”