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Corrine Brown's attorney files new response in appeals process

Former congresswoman seeking to get federal conviction overturned

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The attorney for former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has filed a new brief with the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals as part of the effort to get Brown's conviction on fraud and tax charges overturned.

The brief from appellate attorney William Kent is a response to the May 9 filing from prosecutors, which was a response to Kent's initial appeals brief. 

Brown's appeal is based on the removal of a juror, Juror 13, during deliberations.  That juror had told other jurors that he had prayed and believed the Holy Spirit had told him Brown was not guilty.

DOCUMENT: Brown's response to government response to appeal brief

In the government's response, prosecutors argued the federal court did not err in dismissing the juror, who was not following the court's instructions, did not understand that he was not following those instructions and, if left on the jury, would likely continue to not follow those instructions.

Kent's new response argues that the juror's religious belief, which the court found to be sincere, cannot be a basis to dismiss him from the case.  The brief also argues that at no point did the juror refuse to follow the law, and argues that the juror was never told that seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit was against the court's instructions.

Brown's attorney initially filed an appeal brief in March that spanned more than 60 pages and contained 16,352 words.  A federal appeals judge in Atlanta later ruled the filing to be too long, as it violated the court's word limit for an initial appeal brief, which is 13,000 words.  A revised appeal, under the 13,000-word limit, was filed about two weeks after the ruling.

The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed an amicus brief last month, in support of Brown's appeal.

Brown, 71, began her five-year sentence Jan. 29 at a minimum-security prison camp that is part of the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Central Florida.  Brown had asked the court to allow her to remain free on bond during the appeals process, but that motion was denied.