Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum, who lost a close 2018 election to Governor Ron DeSantis before being found in a motel unconscious with drugs and a male escort, will have to face trial on federal charges including fraud and lying to the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor declined last week to throw out the case against Gillum, calling his claims the charges were brought because he is black “meritless.”
Gillum and public relations executive Sharon Lettman-Hicks were indicted earlier this year on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents. Prosecutors say the former Tallahassee mayor used campaign donations for personal expenses during his failed gubernatorial campaign.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks allegedly solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds in 2017 and then diverted them for their personal use. Lettman-Hicks allegedly listed Gillum as an employee at her firm and later as an “independent contractor” in order to pay him a salary while he ran for governor.
Gillum met with FBI agents posing as developers while he was mayor of Tallahassee and during his campaign for governor. His team sought donations from the undercover agents, allegedly suggesting they not be listed as political contributions.