Andrew Gillum lawyers want potential jurors quizzed on media exposure to case

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Lawyers for Andrew Gillum want potential jurors in his upcoming trial to be questioned about news they have consumed in the case to make sure they haven't been "unfairly tainted."

In a motion filed Wednesday, Gillum's lawyers suggested sending out a nine-page questionnaire to prospective jurors or alternatively the morning of April 17, when jury selection is scheduled to start at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.

The filing cites coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Tallahassee Democrat and numerous others and notes that "such coverage will no doubt intensify as the trial date draws closer." It includes a nine-page questionnaire asking whether jurors have heard anything about the case in the news and formed any opinions as a result.

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"The questionnaire seeks to ensure that potential jurors have not been unfairly tainted by exposure to such reports, which necessarily are based on scanty and unreliable information, much of which would be inadmissible at trial," wrote lawyers David Markus and Katherine Miller of Miami.

Gillum, former Tallahassee mayor and Democratic nominee for governor, and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a longtime friend, were indicted in June on federal charges that they illegally funneled campaign donations to themselves.

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Lawyers for Gillum also filed a new motion asking U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor for separate trials for the pair, saying Lettman-Hicks is needed as a witness in Gillum's defense but would invoke her right to remain silent at a joint trial. Winsor denied a similar request in November.

Contact Jeff Burlew at and follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Andrew Gillum lawyers want jurors quizzed on media exposure to case