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Federal court trial of Andrew Gillum, Sharon Lettman-Hicks

Trial held at federal courthouse in Tallahassee
scales of justice
Posted at 11:39 AM, Apr 17, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Follow this story for the latest updates from the Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks federal trial inside the U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida courthouse.

Day 14 - Thursday, May 4 - RECAP

Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks react to not guilty verdict

UPDATE 3:33 p.m.:
Former city of Tallahassee mayor and 2018 Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was found not guilty of providing false statements to the FBI, and no verdicts on counts two through 19, which were related to conspiracy and fraud.

The jury did not render a verdict against Gillum's associate Sharon Lettman-Hicks on the same conspiracy and fraud charges against Gillum.

The government said it planned a retrial of the case.

Editor's note: The story was corrected to reflect the prosecution plans for a retrial of the case.

12:30 p.m. UPDATE:
U.S. judge Allen Winsor granted a motion by the prosecution to activate an "Allen Charge" for the jury.

The Allen Charge refers jury instructions for an undecided jury to agree on a verdict.

Andrew Gillum's defense requested a mistrial, but judge Winsor denied the request.

As of Thursday afternoon, the jury had reached a verdict on the first charge of providing false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Day 13 - Wednesday, May 3 - RECAP

Andrew Gillum's attorney calls for mistrial following juror social media posts

UPDATE 5:30 P.M.
The juror in question was not dismissed by the court.

Judge Allen Winsor noted the social media post was “inappropriate” and adding, “it shouldn’t have happened” but instead insisted on speaking with juror about the rules.

EARLY AFTERNOON UPDATE

The defense and prosecution have requested a juror to be dismissed after the juror posted on social media content related to the trial, which is against protocol for the jury.

The defense wants the juror to be removed and replaced with an alternate juror. That would lead to deliberation to start over.

Day 12 - Tuesday, May 2

UPDATE 3:39 p.m.: The jury ended discussion and dismissed until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

A.M. UPDATE
Deliberation with the jury continued Tuesday.

Day 11 - Monday, May 1

No verdict was reached.

Day 10 - Friday, April 28
6 PM UPDATE

A verdict was not reached by the jury Friday, but deliberation will resume Monday.

PM UPDATE
The jury asked the court if one be found guilty, but not the other. The response was yes.

The jury asked for a simple definition of material fact?

The court responded for the jury to rely on definition already provided by the court.

The jury was allowed to leave at 5 p.m. Friday and will decided if it wants to reconvene on Saturday or wait untill Monday.

AM UPDATE
Closing arguments were delivered by the prosecution and the defenses Friday in court.

The jury began deliberating the federal case against Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks.

Day 9 - Thursday, April 27

Prosecution, defenses rest in Gillum, Lettman-Hicks federal trial

Closing arguments are set to begin Friday morning in the federal trial involving Andrew Gillum and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks.

It has not been announced when jury is expected to begin deliberations.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday.

  • The prosecution wrapped with their last witness, former special agent Wiederspahn. This was Wiederspahn’s 2nd time being called to testify. Durning his testimony to the prosecution Wiederspanh says he did not see expenses being made from P&P to campaign efforts but instead payments were made to Gillum. 
  • In Widerspahn’s testimony to the defense he admits you cannot see what service is provided in bank statements. The defense then showed public records of Gillum’s salary during that time implying his salary was not a secret. 
  • During Widerspahn’s testimony to the defense he was resistant and redirected questions several times. He went as far as to say he felt Lettman-Hicks stole money from the campaign to fund Gillum’s salary at P&P. (For the 2nd time)
  • The prosecution ended with emails showing Gillum wanting to use NBJC as the fiscal sponsor for his issue campaign instead of New World Foundation despite the fact NWF was a cheaper option. Prosecution claims he went with NBJC based off relationships he had with the organization heads (LH). 

Day 8 - Wednesday, April 26

Prosecution calls its last witness in federal trial involving Gillum, Lettman-Hicks

An attorney for Lettman-Hicks provided testimony Wednesday. The attorney discussed bank statements.

NBJC was the fiscal agent. It was stated that $250,000 was transferred to a local credit union. An email noted that $150,000 was being put in NBJC around the same time.

Another email notes communication between Gillum for Governor team and the attorney that there was $14,000 left over in the campaign account. Gillum for Governor team noted the $14,000 needed to go towards something.

Another witness, who was a tax business consultant for campaign finance tracked contributions as the candidate collects.

The person worked as a treasurer for Forward Florida only during the primary, but switched to deputy treasurer during the general election.

The person resigned, but returned after another individual left the campaign.

The campaign needed help filing termination report to shut down the campaign and notify the public of funds.

Bank statements were shown with payments to P&P Communications. There were Hicks' invoice number on statements.

A previous FBI agent Hurley returned to the stand discussing a second interview with Gillum.

The interview was related to the trip to New York between Gillum and the undercover FBI agents.

A recording involving Andrew's brother, Marcus, was played in court addressing the trip to New York.

Day 7 - Tuesday, April 25

Accountant testifies about alleged fraud discrepancies during Gillum Trial

A.M. UPDATE
A former campaign manager testified Tuesday. The former manager said he handled digital platform for the Gillum campaign.

On election day, the manager handled day-to-day operations. He did not recall P&P Communications being part of the media rollout.

The manager discussed salary breakdowns for those on the campaign.
Day 6 - Monday, April 24

Former Gillum and Lettman-Hicks employee testify about budget concerns

P.M. UPDATE
A senior planner provided testimony Monday. The planner work for Gillum when Gillum was the mayor of Tallahassee and met when he was an intern in graduate school.

He met Lettman-Hicks via an issue campaign. Gillum headed up grant funding.

Hicks had control of the funds because she was the fiscal sponsor and paid all the bills.

He said that Hicks requested accounts to be frozen from time to time.

A.M. UPDATE

Multiple witnesses provided testimony Monday.

An individual representing Verizon Wireless provided records involving Sharon Lettman-Hicks related to account activity ranging from May 2018 through December 2019.

According to the Verizon representative, the federal government did not request text messages or the number of phone calls between Hicks and Andrew Gillum.

A political adviser noted in testimony that Gillum met with the donor and received a donation; the confirmation of donation was confirmed via email documents.

The amount of $250,000 was transferred to Gillum from the donor and noted that a method was used to keep the donor anonymous.

Testimony via an email notes that the donor said the funding being sent to OLA was preferred by Gillum because it was not text deductible.

There are limits to how much a donor can give to a campaign. PAC, C4, etc... are used.

Testimony notes that the donor followed the rules and there were no issue with the donor giving to the C4.

The donor provided funding after the primary with no complaints.

Testimony notes the donor never met nor talked with Hicks and OLA is responsible for how the money is spent.

There was no written agreement on how the money is spent.

Day 5 - Friday, April 21

Testimony Friday focused on the movement of funds.

First week of federal trial involving Gillum, Lettman-Hicks concludes

Credit copies from P&P Communications were displayed. The deposits ranged from $5,000 to $60,000.

Some deposits marked as bonuses usually $5,000.

A CEO of a foundation, testified about communications with Sharon Lettman-Hicks in relation to a donor and movement of funding on multiple occasions.

Day 4 - Thursday, April 20

Prosecutors zero in on fraud charges in Andrew Gillum Trial

Another FBI agent, Evan Hurley provided testimony Thursday. The agent maintained that Gillum was not honest about when communication ended between Gillum and the first undercover agent Mike Miller regarding bribery.

The defense attorney said the agent who provided testimony Thursday was not specific in questioning Gillum regarding any possible trips or gifts Gillum may have received from agent Miller.

Day 3 - Wednesday, April 19

FBI Agent Evan Hurley testifies about Andrew Gillum's false statement charge

SECOND A.M. UPDATE
The undercover operation was in 2016 and 2017 as 2017 was when Gillum launched his campaign to become Florida governor for the 2018 election cycle.

Testimony provided tied Gillum's brother, Marcus Gillum, to alleged request for payments for projects.

The agent said that Andrew Gillum said that his brother should not have done that.

The agent confirmed that when attempts to link money to the projects, Andrew Gillum said no multiple times.
A.M. UPDATE
An FBI agent was cross examined by the defense Wednesday.

The attorney discussed techniques used by the FBI agent while undercover.

The agent said no bribery with Gillum in regards to the Hamilton tickets, boat ride nor the hotel.

The trip to New York was not a bribe, but done to befriend Gillum.
Day 2 - Tuesday, April 18

FBI agent testifies at Andrew Gillum trial

A.M. UPDATE
Opening statements in the trial were delivered Tuesday.

The government's attorney said that Gillum's financial situation was not ideal at the time in 2016.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began to receive reports from citizens of corruption and undercover agents were sent in.

Agents posing as developers donate money to a dinner Gillum was having.

It is alleged during a trip to New York, the agents and Gillum go on a boat ride then attend, "Hamilton" a musical performance, that was paid for by the undercover agents.

The defense attorney said that Andrew Gillum was not guilty of the charges and that the FBI undercover agents tried to get Andrew Gillum to do corrupt things.

On two separate occasions that were recorded, the agents asked Andrew Gillum to approve projects for money and Andrew said no.

Day 1 – Monday, April 17

5:49 p.m. UPDATE: A total of 12 jurors have been selected with three additional alternate jurors available. The trial is expected to proceed Tuesday. Court will resume Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

A.M. UPDATE

15-person jury selected for Andrew Gillum trial

The first day of trial for former city of Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum began Monday.

Family and friends of Gillum were in the courtroom.

As for court proceedings, 66 people were selected for the initial jury pool as the selection process to narrow down the jury began at 10 a.m.

Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks is a co-defendant with Gillum, is also in the courtroom.

It is anticipated that the trial will begin Monday afternoon and the duration of the trial will be three weeks.

Gillum was elected mayor of Tallahassee in 2014 and in 2018, he was the Democratic Party of Florida nominee for Florida governor.

Lettman-Hicks was a 2022 Democratic candidate for the Florida House of Representatives District 8 seat.

According to the Associated Press, Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were indicted in June 2022 on federal charges including conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to FBI agents.