(Headline USA) A federal judge in Florida has refused to throw out criminal charges against former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, disagreeing with his assertions that he was the victim of selective prosecution because he was a black candidate for governor.
Gillum and a colleague were indicted earlier this year on federal charges including conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to FBI agents. Prosecutors said Gillum funneled donations through third parties back to himself for personal use.
According to prosecutors, Gillum met with undercover FBI agents posing as developers while he was mayor of Tallahassee and during his campaign for governor. His associates sought donations from the agents, and suggested ways to provide money without listing them as political contributions, including paying for a fundraising dinner, according to the indictment.
Gillum has pleaded not guilty and denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.
Saying the defendants’ arguments were “meritless,” U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor last week dismissed four motions from the defendants challenging the continuation of the prosecution.
Gillum had asked that the charges be dismissed because prosecutors delayed filing them and he was being prosecuted because of his race and politics. The judge who was appointed by former President Donald Trump said Gillum had offered nothing to support the claim of selective prosecution because of his race or politics.
Gillum, who is black, was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2018 and narrowly lost the race to Republican Ron DeSantis. After losing, Gillum was still seen as a rising star in Democratic politics and was hired as a CNN analyst.
Then, in March 2020, Gillum was found intoxicated and unconscious in a hotel room with two men, including one who works as a male escort. Two days later he entered a rehabilitation center, and later did a television interview in which he said he’s bisexual.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press