ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando businessman says he’s leading an effort to convince President Donald Trump to pardon ex-Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who is serving a five-year sentence at a Florida prison.
Brown, 73, was convicted on federal fraud and tax charges related to her role in using donations to the One Door for Education charity for personal expenses and events. She is serving her sentence at a federal prison in Sumter County.
Crossman first sat down with WFTV in Orlando. He told the television station that he recently visited Brown in prison. A reporter asked why Crossman is trying to help the disgraced ex-lawmaker, who represented Florida’s 5th District.
Crossman said he’s been doing prison ministry for 20 years, and is passionate about prison reform for nonviolent offenders. He said talks are ongoing with senior Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C.
On Friday, he spoke with News4Jax anchor Bruce Hamilton by phone.
“I think she’s been punished, you know, significantly for what happened, and I think she can better serve society,” Coleman said. "I think she now has a perspective on our prison system that can bring some light to ways we can improve on something that’s pretty archaic.”
Brown is a Democrat. Crossman is a conservative Republican. He said this has nothing to do with politics. He said his agenda is prison reform and thinks that given Brown’s Congressional profile and now her experience in prison, she can help him advance it.
“I think she has the ability to be a voice in that area and talk about it,” Coleman said. “And let me say this, I don’t get into whether someone is innocent or guilty, that’s not my bag. When I visit someone in prison, I’m visiting them because Christ called us to do this. That’s why I’m there.”
Following her conviction, Brown and her appellate attorney, William Kent, appealed the conviction based on the dismissal of Juror 13. In January, a federal appeals court panel affirmed Brown’s conviction from 2017.
However, Brown is continuing to fight her conviction, asking a full federal appeals court to decided whether the juror was improperly dismissed from her trial because he said the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty.