Newly released messages between Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor, and a lobbyist friend seem to contradict his claim that his brother had purchased tickets to see the Broadway musical, "Hamilton."
Republicans have suggested that an undercover FBI agent purchased the tickets, which could mean that the FBI was looking into Gillum personally.
Here's what we know
While Gillum was mayor of Tallahassee, the FBI was investigating that city's government. Gillum's opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), has repeatedly accused Gillum of being under FBI investigation, an accusation that Gillum has firmly denied.
In August 2016, Gillum attended a production of the musical "Hamilton," along with his brother Marcus, a lobbyist friend named Adam Corey, and an undercover FBI agent who was going by the name Mike Miller. At the time, Gillum was unaware of the agent's true identity.
One of the accusations against Gillum is that he accepted gifts, including the "Hamilton" ticket, from the FBI agent. This would imply that he was being more closely monitored by the FBI than he has insisted. Gillum has insisted that the "Hamilton" tickets came from his brother.
The Florida Commission on Ethics has released 150 pages of documents, including text messages, emails, and photos related to interaction between Gillum, Gillum's brother Marcus, Corey, and Miller. In addition to the "Hamilton" tickets, these documents also detailed communications regarding trips the four men had taken to New York, Amelia Island, Miami, Costa Rica, and Qatar.
In newly released text messages, Corey texted Gillum and said “Just checking in with you. Mike Miller and the crew have tickets for us for Hamilton tonight at 8 p.m.”
Corey responded “awesome news about Hamilton.”
How did Gillum respond?
Asked about these messages on Tuesday, Gillum insisted that while Corey had told him that Miller had the tickets, he had assumed that his brother had paid for them and that Miller was only holding the tickets.
When asked about this by DeSantis during their Oct. 21 debate, Gillum insisted that he “didn’t take free trips from anybody."
"I’m a hardworking person," he said. "I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do. But I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve gotten in my life, and I don’t need anybody handing me anything for free.”
He defended his actions again during a second debate on Oct. 24.
“When I got to the theater, my brother handed me the ticket,” he said. "The idea that I accepted a gift never came to me.”
In September, in an attempted to vindicate himself, Gillum released documentation that he said proved his innocence. However, this documentation failed to include the “Hamilton” tickets.
Gillum accused Republicans, who keep bringing this up, of racism.
“All along they’ve wanted the people of this state to believe somehow I haven’t deserved what I’ve gotten, I’m unethical, participated in illegal and illicit activity," Gillum responded. "I mean, you name it. The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men.“
TheBlaze has reached out to the DeSantis and Gillum campaigns for comment, but has yet to hear back from either.