In 2018, Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, nearly surprised Florida’s political establishment by narrowly losing the gubernatorial election to Ron DeSantis. However, at the time, the former mayor of Tallahassee is struggling to keep his freedom in federal court.

For the past year, Gillum has been grappling with federal allegations of lying to the FBI and misusing campaign funds for personal gain. Moreover, the 43-year-old’s apparent acceptance of illicit gifts from developers was caught on tape by undercover FBI agents, including tickets to Broadway shows, hotel accommodations, and private tours of New York City.

Should Gillum be found guilty, he could face a maximum of 20 years for each of his 17 counts of wire fraud and up to five years for providing false statements to FBI agents. During his meeting with the FBI in 2017, Gillum denied soliciting any illegal gifts, implying that the alleged offenses occurred during his time as the mayor.

He resigned from office in 2018. And throughout his case, he’s claimed that he is innocent.

“There’s been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee,” he said after he was indicted. “They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now.”

The former Democratic rising star was defeated narrowly by DeSantis in 2018 by a margin of 34,000 votes, representing just 0.41 percent of the overall vote. Two years later, he was discovered by police in a hotel room with a man who seemed to be experiencing a drug overdose.

The FBI charges against Gillum for lying about his actions and defrauding campaign donors continued his downfall the following year. Gillum and his political advisor, Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, stand accused of camouflaging personal payments made to benefit Gillum through Lettman-Hicks’ communications firm.

Following his unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018, Gillum purportedly appointed Lettman-Hicks to oversee the winding down of his campaign and then transferred $60,000 in donations to her firm. It is claimed that several “bonus” payments were later transferred from the firm to Gillum’s personal bank account.

Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.