JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The long-delayed sentencing hearing for former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown is expected to reach a conclusion Thursday.
Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The two, who are not related, were convicted last year of federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering stemming from a federally-backed loan and a city grant obtained for a barbecue sauce business owned by Katrina Brown’s family. The jury found Katrina Brown guilty on all 37 counts and Reggie Brown guilty on 33 of 34 counts against him.
On Wednesday, the second day of the sentencing hearing, the court heard closing arguments and the judge spent most of the day swatting away more than 500 pages of objections and motions. It was all to arrive at the total loss amount, which is how the judge will be deciding on the sentence.
A last few witnesses were called by attorneys for Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, including Katrina Brown’s uncle, her pastor and Reggie Brown’s ex-wife. And there was powerful testimony on their behalf from former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover, who said he had known Reggie Brown for more than 15 years and spoke to his character.
Then came the sentencing recommendations. For Katrina Brown, the federal government wants 4 ½ years in prison, three years of supervised release and $535,335 forfeited over. For Reggie Brown, prosecutors want four years in prison, three years of supervised release and $411,752 forfeited over.
The attorneys for Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown asked the judge for a sentence that doesn’t involve prison time, and instead, a probationary period.
The forfeiture amount is being contested right now, and the judge said she’s going to take some time and issue a ruling Thursday afternoon.
“We’re going to ask the city of Jacksonville to pray,” Reggie Brown told News4Jax while leaving court.
When the sentencing hearing began Tuesday, Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown looked on in court as the defense team tried for a final time to convince the judge of a merciful sentence.
“The thing that I have been saying from the onset is that I’m innocent. We never had any conversation about doing anything wrong unethical or illegal,” Reggie Brown said.
Katrina Brown’s father, Jerome Brown, took the stand Tuesday and made a plea to the judge.
“I would like her to consider Trina (Katrina) has never been in trouble doing nothing, never got a speeding ticket. She has been a great daughter," he said.
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. This current sentencing date was challenged earlier this month, citing the coronavirus pandemic, but the judge denied the request.