Sharon Lettman-Hicks, who was arrested Wednesday along with former Mayor Andrew Gillum on charges they funneled campaign contributions to themselves, is suspending her campaign for a Florida House seat.
Lettman-Hicks filed to run for the District 8 seat on June 1, just days before a federal grand jury indicted on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
“I am devastated by these baseless charges, and I have made the painful decision to suspend my campaign," she said in a news release. "I must now focus on fighting for my continued freedom."
Lettman-Hicks, owner of P&P Communications and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, said she found it "stunning" that the charges came to light just days after she became a viable candidate in the House race. She qualified to run for the House seat last week.
USA v. Gillum:
"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," she said in the release.
Lettman-Hicks was among six candidates running for the House seat left open by Rep. Ramon Alexander's decision not to seek re-election amid a sexual harassment scandal.
She wrote that she was motivated to run for the Legislature "to give voice to the underrepresented and the forgotten in our society. I wanted to challenge the status quo and hold those in the highest of offices in our state accountable to the people."
Lettman-Hicks closed by thanking "the many District 8 residents" who volunteered to support her campaign.
"I have not forgotten the people of this community nor the issues we face," she said.
Both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were indicted as part of the FBI's long-running investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee. The investigation already netted convictions and federal prison time for former Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox, his longtime aide Paige Carter-Smith and wealthy entrepreneur John "J.T." Burnette.
She and Gillum pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday during their first appearance in federal court in Tallahassee. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Stampelos set a tentative trial date of Aug. 16.
Contact Jeff Burlew at email@example.com or follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Sharon Lettman-Hicks suspends campaign for Florida House