Leave Gillum and Lettman-Hicks alone

Capital Outlook editorial board

The jury has spoken.

Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks’ criminal trial resulted in a verdict of not guilty for Mr. Gillum and a hung jury finding in 18 other charges, which allowed both Mr. Gillum and Mrs. Lettman-Hicks to go home with their freedom.

The feds had the burden of proving that based upon evidence Mr. Gillum and Mrs. Lettman-Hicks were guilty of committing crimes in 19 different charges. The federal prosecutors failed to prove that Mr. Gillum and Mrs. Lettman-Hicks were guilty based on the evidence. The immediate announcement by the feds to re-try Mr. Gillum and Mrs. Lettman-Hicks is disturbing. Clearly, the government has decided to move the goalpost.

The public is familiar, no doubt, with the criminal charges leveled against Gillum, a former candidate for governor of Florida, and Lettman-Hicks, the campaign manager for Gillum’s very close gubernatorial race in 2018. We are not inclined to rehash the Gillum-Lettman-Hicks’ trial. This case has been adjudicated in the court of law under the democratic processes of our state and nation. 

We, however, are inclined to opine on the post-trial dynamic given the prosecution’s promise to re-try both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks. This, we believe, is wrong! 

Gillum and Lettman-Hicks have faced all formal charges leveled against them. They received due process of law afforded to them per the Constitution. The government with vast resources marshalled a long pursuit of the defendants. They faced broad media inspection around the clock. They did not have the unlimited resources of the government. Still, they prevailed. 

Instead, these two defendants with fewer resources withstood the onslaught of the prosecution in its pursuit of justice. Mr. Gillum and Mrs. Lettman-Hicks did not take the witness stand. Instead, they never said a mumbling word, but did a sort of rope-a-dope absorbing the punches of the prosecution while never countering in defense of the charges.

Still, the government failed to secure a conviction. We maintain that anything more in the form of a new trial would be government overkill and abuse of power. 

The goal posts have been moved back on these two defendants who have emerged from trial without a conviction. The prosecution now demands a do over trial to give the U.S. Justice Department a chance to win after losing fair and square. The government’s case was ineffectual to gain any level of conviction. Clearly, the government faults the jury. It also refuses to accept the flaws of its own case. 

A rematch with Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks after the U.S. government failed to secure convictions is neither fair nor reasonable. The government is, in effect, tormenting these two citizens in an extreme effort to over-kill.

Government overreach and overkill are traits which compromise democracy. We firmly maintain that the prosecution’s call for a new trial violates the essence of due process and equal protection standards applied to Andrew Gillum and Sharon Lettman-Hicks and would be a waste of government resources. 

Under democracy where due process has been attained in the prosecution of a criminal case what more should the public expect and accept? The U.S. government had its day in court, but refuses to accept the peoples’ findings. The jury has spoken, but the government has dismissed the people’s verdict and is now in search of other “people” to back their side.

Now that the government has lost, it has the endless authority to call for another trial. Had Mr. Gillum or Mrs. Lettman-Hicks lost their cases, they would not have the equal authority to do the same. 

But is it just or fair toward the defendants for the prosecution to have a redo? We say No!

 


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