Jurors selected for start of federal trial for Andrew Gillum, Sharon Lettman-Hicks
Opening statements are expected as soon as Tuesday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A jury of 15 people was selected Monday evening for the federal corruption case of Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, which is expected to last at least a month in Tallahassee, Fla. Opening statements could come Tuesday.
There was standing room only inside the fifth-floor courtroom where jury selection took place under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor. More than 60 jurors filled the courtroom and were questioned about their knowledge of the high-profile case of the former Tallahassee mayor and his former campaign supervisor.
Final selections for the jury took place around 5:30 p.m., after a full day of questioning. The group includes 12 jurors and three alternates.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks are facing conspiracy and fraud charges, and Gillum faces an additional charge of lying to the FBI. Gillum took to Facebook Sunday evening, the night before the start of the trial, to continue asserting his innocence.
The judge read out the names of approximately 40 potential witnesses - both for the prosecution and the defense - who could testify in the case. Gillum’s brother, Marcus Gillum, is listed as a possible witness and so is Gillum’s wife, R. Jai Gillum. She was sitting in the courtroom’s front row as potential jurors were questioned this morning.
In addition to the two undercover FBI agents who are at the heart of the Government’s case, there are several potential witnesses whose names are well-known in Tallahassee political circles:
- Former Gillum colleague Adam Corey
- Gillum’s former attorney Barry Richard, former Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors
- Current Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow
- Donald Sussman
- Prominent local attorneys Sean Pittman and Daryl Parks.
Many hands went up when the judge asked potential jurors if they had seen or read any media coverage of the case.
Potential jurors were questioned individually Monday afternoon out of earshot of other jurors. Half of the jurors reported at 2 p.m., the other half at 3 p.m.
Ahead of Monday, Winsor indicated that the questioning for jurors would be extensive.
“We’ll have a lot more individual voir dire in this case than we usually have,” Judge Winsor said. Individual voir dire means jurors are questioned one by one so other jurors cannot hear their responses. That usually happens either behind closed doors or next to the judge’s bench.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were indicted last summer, and a grand jury issued a new “superseding” indictment just last week. It includes 19 counts, instead of the original 21. Two of the original wire fraud charges are no longer included.
Defense attorneys initially indicated they would ask for a delay in the trial because of the last-minute indictment, but on Thursday told the judge they were ready to move forward with the trial.
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