Jury acquits former Dem Mayor Gillum of lying to FBI, deadlocked on 18 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud

 May 5, 2023

Disgraced former Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was found not guilty on a single count of making false statements to the FBI by a federal jury in Florida on Thursday, Breitbart reported.

However, the jury was deadlocked on 18 other charges against the failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate in a federal corruption case in which he and a co-conspirator were alleged to have engaged in wire fraud involving political donations, and a mistrial was declared by the judge presiding over the case.

The jury deadlocked after five days of deliberation

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the verdict for Gillum and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks came on the fifth day of deliberations following a trial last week at the federal courthouse in the state capitol.

The jury on Tuesday informed U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor that they had reached an agreement on one count but were deadlocked on the remaining 18 counts and, as deliberations continued on Wednesday, had requested more supplies and copies of the evidence presented, which the judge viewed as a "sign of progress."

It became clear on Thursday, though, that the jury was unable to reach a consensus on the multiple counts of conspiracy and wire fraud that stemmed from an alleged scheme in which Gillum and his adviser Lettman-Hicks stood accused of diverting campaign donations through Lettman-Hicks' own company to their own bank accounts for personal use.

Charged with conspiracy and wire fraud, lying to the FBI

CBS News reported that Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were federally indicted in 2022 over the alleged scheme to defraud donors that occurred between 2016 and 2019.

According to prosecutors, the charged co-conspirators were alleged to have fraudulently solicited donations that were supposed to be used for political purposes but instead funneled tens of thousands of the contributed dollars into their own accounts.

Separately, Gillum had been charged with lying to federal investigators about the provenance of gifts he had received from undercover FBI agents posing as real estate developers on a trip to New York City as part of a broader corruption investigation.

Defendants will be retried

The Associated Press reported that federal prosecutors said that both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks would be retried at a later date on the 18 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud that had deadlocked the jury and prompted the declaration of a mistrial by the judge.

Had they been convicted on all counts, both defendants faced the prospect of potentially lengthy prison sentences, though it was always deemed unlikely that they would have received the maximum punishment of decades behind bars.

The outlet noted that Gillum spoke briefly with reporters outside the courtroom after the trial concluded and expressed gratitude for his wife and family, his pastor, and his legal defense team, but also took an accusatory shot at the federal prosecutors who argued the case against him.

"They have quite literally tried to take everything from us," Gillum said. "And the beauty is in our system the powers that be don’t always get to decide. Everyday people like you and me sometimes get our swing at the ball."

Gillum's fall from grace

However, despite his apparent praise for the "beauty" of the judicial system that just worked in his favor, CBS News noted that Gillum said that the very same "system is in desperate need of reform."

The outlet noted that Gillum's fall from grace after previously being deemed a "rising star" for Democrats began when he lost the 2018 governor's race in Florida to Republican Ron DeSantis by just 34,000 votes and reached rock bottom in 2020 when he was discovered by police in a hotel room with another man who had overdosed on illicit drugs.

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