Corrine Brown surrenders passport after fraud sentencing

Corrine Brown arrives at the U.S. District Courthouse Monday for sentencing.
Corrine Brown arrives at the U.S. District Courthouse Monday for sentencing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown surrendered her passport Wednesday, fulfilling one of the conditions governing her release after sentencing, court documents show.

The court ordered Brown, 71, to hand over her passport as part of the routine travel restrictions imposed on federal prisoners leading up to their incarceration.

Currently, the longtime Democrat lawmaker is allowed to leave Jacksonville. She can travel freely within Florida's Middle District, which extends as far south as Fort Myers.

While Brown cannot leave that area without permission, she may be able to go to Washington, D.C. as well. The judge left that decision up to the pretrial services officer.

Brown's cohorts, former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons and his ex-girlfriend Carla Wiley, must also surrender their passports. Their travel has been restricted to the Maryland/Virginia area.

Brown was sentenced Monday to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on 18 fraud and tax charges. Simmons received 48 months and Wiley 21 months.

The trio does not have to report to prison until Jan. 8.

Attorney James Smith, who represents Brown, said his client intends to appeal. She is seeking a bond pending appeal, which would allow her to remain free until she exhausts her appeals.

Smith said Brown will also continue to receive her congressional pension until the appeals process is complete, adding that it could take several years.

It's likely Brown's appeal would focus on the refusal by U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to grant a mistrial over the dismissal of a juror who claimed to receive guidance from "the Holy Spirit."

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