Judge does not drop charges against former gubernatorial candidate

MIAMI.- A judge federal in Florida refused to dismiss criminal charges against Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor who lost to Ron DeSantis by 34,000 votes in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign, indicted on 21 federal counts.

According to Gillum, accused along with his assistant Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks among other charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to an FBI agent, he is the victim of “selective prosecution for being a black candidate for governor.”

Prosecutors said Gillum funneled campaign donations through third parties for his personal use.

According to prosecutors, Gillum met with undercover FBI agents posing as developers when he was mayor and during his gubernatorial campaign. His associates sought donations from the agents and suggested ways to provide money other than political contributions, including paying for a fundraising dinner, according to the indictment.

The indictment confirms that undercover agents, posing as businessmen seeking government contracts in Tallahassee, paid for Gillum’s lodging at the Millennium Hilton hotel, his food and drink, a boat tour of New York Harbor, and admission to see a Broadway show.

According to the report, Gillum did not disclose the contributions and denied them when he met with the FBI in 2017.

Gillum pleaded not guilty and denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.

US District Judge Allen Winsor dismissed four motions by the defendants challenging the continuation of the prosecution. According to Winsor, the defendants’ arguments had no merit.

Gillum had asked to have the charges dismissed, arguing that prosecutors were slow to file them and he was being prosecuted because of his race and political views. The judge said Gillum had offered nothing to support the claim of selective prosecution because of his race or political views.

After losing, to DeSantis, Gillum was still seen as a rising star in Democratic politics and was hired as an analyst for CNN.

Then, in March 2020, the former Tallahassee mayor was found drunk and unconscious in a hotel room with two men, one of whom worked as a escort masculine -company boy for men-.

Two days later, Gillum checked into a rehab center, and later admitted to being bisexual in a television interview, the AP reported.