JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A sentencing hearing for former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown will take place as currently scheduled Oct. 27-29, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The pair, who are not related, asked for another delay in the sentencing, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
But the court found that an in-person hearing can be conducted safely at this time.
On Sept. 22, the chief judge of the Middle District of Florida issued an order, extending the previous administrative order that was in place for the pandemic until Nov. 24. In the motion, attorneys for the Browns argue that the order prevents any in-person felony sentencings from taking place unless they’re done over video.
In the footnotes of the ruling against the motion, the judge wrote that it has repeatedly been explained that while the chief judge’s administrative order allows certain things to happen via phone or video conference, it doesn’t prohibit in-person proceedings, “which have been occurring with regularity in courthouses throughout the district.”
Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown were convicted in October 2019 on federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering stemming from a federally-backed loan and a city grant obtained by a barbecue sauce business owned by Katrina Brown’s family.
Sentencing was originally set for Jan. 27, but the hearing was postponed after Katrina Brown got a new attorney. The hearing was then moved to March, but it was delayed once more in May in response to defense motions. The current sentencing date of Oct. 27-29 was then set on Aug. 31.