Prosecutors, former City Council members ready for trial

Katrina Brown, Reggie Brown face federal fraud, money laundering charges

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Two former Jacksonville City Council members appeared before a federal judge Monday for the last time before they are expected to go on trial on dozens of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges.

Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are set to go on trial Aug. 19 

The Browns are not related but shared some business interests.

The government’s case is expected to show that hundreds of thousands of dollars of city and federal loans and grant money intended to be used by Katrina Brown’s family barbecue sauce business was funneled into their personal accounts.

Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard ruled on several motions Monday, granting one that blocks prosecutors from pointing out that Reggie Brown voted in favor of a grant to Katrina Brown and her family business will he was on the City Council in 2011. That vote occurred before Katrina Brown was on the council.

While the judge ruled that government attorneys can show Reggie Brown was aware of the loan and that the majority of the council voted in favor of it, he said it would not be fair to let the jury know on how Reggie Brown voted.

There was also a question as to whether Katrina Brown’s attorney could call an accountant as an expert witness to testify about the barbecue sauce business’ finances. The judge is waiting to rule on that until after the prosecutors have presented their case.

The government plans to call more than 20 witnesses as it lays out its case over five days at the end of August. Its first witness will be an FBI agent who worked on the case.

Lawyers for each defendant said to take about a day to present their cases.

Three days of jury selection start Aug. 14. The judge was told by all sides the case should be wrapped up by Aug. 29.

Both defendants had nothing to say as they left the courthouse Monday afternoon.

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