JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A judge decided on Thursday that two Jacksonville City Council members, who were indicted on dozens of federal fraud charges that could land them in prison for decades, will go to trial in August.
Katrina Brown's attorney asked for a delay until the August trial term, while Reggie Brown's attorney wanted a trial in February as originally scheduled. The judge decided to grant the six-month extension because of complexities in the case and due to Katrina Brown appointing two new attorneys.
GALLERY: Photos from the courtroom
Brown's previous court-appointed attorney was allowed to withdraw from the case due to "irreconcilable differences."
There's a chance the judge could separate their cases, and Reggie Brown would go to trial earlier. Currently, both are scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 19, with jury selection likely occurring Aug. 15-16.
The prosecution expects a two-week trial. The defendants share a last name, but are not related.
The charges are related to Katrina Brown's family barbecue businesses, one of which was raided by the FBI in December 2016, and a business set up by Reggie Brown. An indictment says Reginald Brown deposited reimbursement checks into the businesses' bank accounts.
During the hearing, one of Katrina Brown's attorneys mentioned that he was in the process of drafting a motion to ask the court to appoint a forensic accountant who could help their defense team prepare for the trial. In a motion that was formally filed Friday, attorney Richard Landes writes that it is a complex financial crimes case, and that various financial spreadsheets and summary charts have been prepared, which the prosecution may use during the trial. Landes asks for the accountant's help in understanding the government's theory of the case, interpreting the spreadsheets and developing a defense theory.
If convicted on all charges, Katrina Brown could face up to 720 years in federal prison and $12,250,000 in fines. Reggie Brown could face up to 601 years in prison and $8,275,000 in fines.