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Indicted Gillum adviser suspends Florida House campaign, calls charges ‘baseless’

Sharon Lettman-Hicks broke her silence after she and Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic nominee for governor, were indicted.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, center, leaves the federal courthouse on June 22, 2022 in Tallahassee after she and former candidate for governor Andrew Gillum were indicted.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, center, leaves the federal courthouse on June 22, 2022 in Tallahassee after she and former candidate for governor Andrew Gillum were indicted. [ LAWRENCE MOWER | Times ]
Published Jun. 24|Updated Jun. 24

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a political adviser to former Democratic candidate for Florida governor Andrew Gillum, broke her silence a day after both were indicted Wednesday on charges of fraud.

In a lengthy statement issued Thursday evening, Lettman-Hicks echoed Gillum in alleging that the multi-year federal investigation was “politically motivated.” She also said the criminal charges are “baseless.”

Related: Ex-Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum indicted on fraud charges, arrested by FBI

Lettman-Hicks also implied that her arrest was timed to coincide with her campaign for a state House seat in Tallahassee, noting that last week she officially qualified as a candidate.

“Less than seven days later, I was handcuffed at the Tallahassee FBI office, driven to the federal courthouse with three agents, fingerprinted by U.S. Marshals, and paraded into a federal courthouse to have all my dignity challenged while being indicted on 20 counts from a nearly four-year-old politically motivated investigation,” the statement reads.

“I find it stunning that these charges have come to light just days after I became a viable candidate, yet this is the America that so many, whom I had hoped to represent, deal with day in and day out in their communities.”

The U.S. Department of Justice is led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was selected by Democratic President Joe Biden. The FBI’s investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee began when another Democratic president, Barack Obama, was in office.

Lettman-Hicks also announced she will suspend her campaign so she can focus on her legal fight.

In the bombshell 21-count indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, federal prosecutors accuse Gillum and Lettman-Hicks of diverting political donations and contributions to other organizations they controlled to pay themselves personally. Gillum has also been charged with making false statements to the FBI.

Both have pleaded not guilty. Gillum has said his legal team will prove his innocence.

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