Andrew Gillum's Trial Begins, Faces Twenty Years in Prison

Andrew Gillum's Trial Begins, Faces Twenty Years in Prison

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
April 22, 2023

The jury trial of Democrat Andrew Gillum, who ran against Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in the 2018 gubernatorial general election, has begun.

The Conservative Brief details that Gillum faces up to twenty years in prison for laundering campaign money for personal use.

In June, Gillum received 21 wire fraud charges for activity between 2016 and 2019 with his adviser Sharon Lettman-Hicks. The duo supposedly would solicit donations and divert some of it into Lettman-Hicks' communications company, where Gillum would then take it for himself, as undercover FBI agents discovered.

Gillum denied the charges and claimed, "This case is not legal, it is political."

"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," Gillum told NBC News.

Despite his legal team's best efforts to prove Gillum's prosecution targeted him for being Black and a Democrat, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor rejected their attempts to dismiss the charges in December, saying that even if it looked like Gillum was made a target as a Black man (or Democrat), there was no evidence suggesting that was the intent of the prosecution.

"(Even) if he had offered evidence of discriminatory effect, he would still have to show discriminatory purpose," Winsor said, "He would have to cite evidence showing that the government’s decision to prosecute him was ‘because of’ a protected characteristic. But he offers no evidence suggesting race- or political-affiliation-based prosecution."

Additionally, Gillum's defense attempted to argue the slowness of the indictment violated his due process rights. Specifically, the charge for making potentially false statements to the undercover FBI agents did not come up until nearly five years after the fact.

Gillum's defense called this slowness "necessarily deliberate and tactical (or reflective of a lack of genuine belief that a false statement was made)."

Winsor rejected this argument because they did not speak of the prosecution violating the statute of limitations, adding, "Faded memory is a possibility inherent in any delay; it does not constitute actual prejudice sufficient to bar prosecution."

"Faded memory is a possibility inherent in any delay; it does not constitute actual prejudice sufficient to bar prosecution. Second, even had he shown prejudice, Mr. Gillum has made no showing that the government delayed to gain a tactical advantage. He offers no reason to conclude that this was the purpose: he simply says it was," said Winsor.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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