Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI on Thursday in federal court. He, along with his associate Sharon Lettman-Hicks, were accused of that and 18 counts of committing wire fraud and conspiracy. A mistrial was declared for all those other 18.
The trial lasted five days and over 30 hours, with the jury only able to reach a decision on whether the pair had lied to the FBI. Beyond that, they’re accused of orchestrating a scheme in which campaign donations from Gillum’s 2018 campaign were diverted into the pair’s own personal bank accounts. Gillum, viewed by many pollsters as the likely winner before election day, lost to Republican Ron DeSantis by less than 33,000 votes, good for 0.4%.
Gillum showed gratitude for the acquittal, saying that the criminal justice system “tried to take everything from us”. He framed the situation as a win for the underdog. “The beauty is that in our system, the powers that be don’t always get to decide,” Gillum continued. “Everyday people like you and me sometimes get our swing at the ball. And today, the jury took it.”
It remains to be seen if Gillum and Lettman-Hicks will be retried on the 18 conspiracy and fraud charges.