Ex-City Council members rest case, one with no testimony or evidence

Ex-City Council member Katrina Brown's father testifies in her defense

Katrina Brown calling her father to the stand in the federal corruption case Monday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former City Councilwoman Katrina Brown rested her federal case Monday after calling several witnesses but without any direct evidence contradicting the government's claims that she and fellow Council member Reggie Brown diverted some of nearly $3 million in government grants and loans for personal use.

Moments later, Reggie Brown's attorney rested without calling any witnesses, despite saying in his opening statement last week that the jury would hear from his client.

The two Browns are not related.

Among Katrina Brown's defense witnesses was her father, Jerome Brown, who is the namesake of the barbecue sauce business at the center of the lawsuit. Katrina Brown, who is representing herself, asked about his role in the company.

She introduced bank records that show Jerome Brown and his wife, JoAnn, paid thousands of dollars of their personal money to help with the manufacturing process even as the business was losing money.

After Katrina Brown rested her defense, Reggie Brown's attorney did not enter any evidence or call any witnesses.

"I don’t believe the government has proved its position," said Reggie Brown as he left the courthouse Monday. "If you watched the entire trial, they did not have a lot to say about me outside of activity of me doing business. But I still contend that that was a legitimate business from the time that I started to the time that I finished."

Closing arguments in the trial will begin Tuesday morning. Katrina Brown said she's ready for it.

"That will be my final argument to the jury," she said late Monday.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating on the 36 counts of fraud and conspiracy against the two Browns by Tuesday afternoon.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Lifetime Jacksonville resident & broadcast news producer who's been reporting & writing for nearly a decade here at The Local Station.