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Ex-Jacksonville City Council members ask for release while case is on appeal

Attorneys for both Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown say they do not pose threats to community

Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown enter U.S. District Courthouse in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Less than a week after both were sentenced to federal prison for fraud, lawyers for ex-Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown have filed motions to have them released from prison while their cases are on appeal.

The two, who are not related, were sentenced on Oct. 29 after nearly a year of delays for their roles in fraud involving a federally backed loan and a city grant tied to a barbecue sauce business owned by Katrina Brown’s family. The case had been pushed back repeatedly due to various motions and a change in attorneys.

Attorneys for both said in their appeals that their clients are not a flight risk.

TIMELINE | Case against Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown

Reggie Brown’s attorney, M. Alan Ceballos, said in his appeal, that his client meets the criteria for release while his appeal is in process. Ceballos cited ineffective representation for Brown, something that could lead to a court to overturn his punishment.

“It is respectfully submitted that an appellate review of Mr. Brown’s trial counsel’s effectiveness could yield a reversal," Ceballos wrote.

Katrina Brown’s attorney, Curtis S. Fallgatter, asked for the same, writing that she is a perfect candidate for release at this time.

“Aside from residing in Atlanta, Georgia while attending college, Ms. Brown has been a resident of Jacksonville, Florida for her entire life. Most of her family lives in Jacksonville, including her parents, Jerome and Joann Brown, with whom she lives. Ms. Brown has attended every court hearing where her presence has been required. Indeed, she is clearly not likely to flee nor pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community if released,” Fallgatter wrote.

Katrina Brown was sentenced to 33 months in prison followed by five years of supervised released. She was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $425,000. Reggie Brown was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay in excess of $411,000 in restitution.

Federal prosecutors wanted far tougher sentences than the judge handed down. For Katrina Brown, the government wanted 4½ years in prison, three years of supervised release and $535,335 forfeited. For Reggie Brown, prosecutors wanted four years in prison, three years of supervised release and $411,752 forfeited.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.