Motions exchanged between Corrine Brown's attorney, U.S. attorney

Brown's attorney wants 18 federal convictions thrown out

By Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter, Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The judge who presided over former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's trial on fraud and tax charges has given Brown's lawyer a chance to make additional arguments as to why she should get a new trial.

Last month, Brown was convicted on 18 of 22 charges. 

In a motion filed earlier this month, Brown’s attorney, James Smith, argued that the dismissal of Juror 13 over comments about the “Holy Spirit” violated her 6th Amendment right to a jury of her peers.

Last week, prosecutors filed a memo opposing that motion. Smith then asked for a chance to respond to the government to point out flaws in their arguments. Monday, the judge gave Smith until July 5 to file the prosecution's arguments. 

On Tuesday, the judge extended that until July 7 and gave Smith the same deadline respond to the government request denying the defense motion for a new trial.

Last week, prosecutors filed two motions the court to deny Corrine Brown's motions asking for acquittal and for a new trial. Brown was convicted of charges including fraud, tax evasion and stealing from an unregistered charity.

Prosecutors said the basis for Smith's motion for acquittal was that there was "no direct evidence" presented during the trial of Brown's criminal intent.

DOCUMENTS: Prosecution's motion to deny acquittal motion | Prosecution's memorandum opposing motion for new trial

They said that overlooks and "outright ignores" proof that Brown intentionally participated in a three-year scheme to get money from One Door for Education, the charity Brown and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, used as a personal slush fund.

That proof, prosecutors said, includes bank records, Simmons' testimony against Brown, analysis of Brown's finances and evidence that events didn't raise money for a single scholarship.

Prosecutors said Smith's motion fails to acknowledge that Simmons testified that Brown directed him to give her cash from One Door and that the motion also "ignores compelling evidence" that she lied on her tax returns.

Prosecutors also said there is no legal support for Smith's claim that an acquittal on four counts should mean an acquittal on all counts.

Smith responded Thursday, telling News4Jax he'd read the prosecution's motion and that he looks forward "to arguing the respective motions before the judge who will make the final decision."

Smith has also filed a motion for a new trial based on the dismissal of one of the original jurors during the trial.

Judge Timothy Corrigan has not ruled on either motion.

Smith told News4Jax when he filed the motions earlier this month that the motion for acquittal was a formality.

"(This motion) is filed by all defendants in criminal cases like this," Smith said. "During the trial, we made a motion for a judgment of acquittal. They were denied, initially, by the judge, but just to preserve our appellate issues, we renew the motion again in writing."

The former congresswoman is out on bond awaiting sentencing.

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