JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown was back in federal court Monday afternoon for the first time since her fraud and tax charge conviction was overturned earlier this year.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 7-4 decision, reversed Brown’s conviction in May sending the case back to the district court for a possible retrial.
Federal prosecutors offered her an extended plea agreement to avoid being retried and the possibility that she could return to prison, which Brown rejected. She wants her named cleared. She is also trying to get back $42,000 she had already paid in restitution before her first conviction was thrown out.
The government said they will put her on trial again on the same 18 felony counts involving an alleged charity scheme. Prosecutors said they would be ready for trial as early as next month but Brown’s defense counsel asked for time to obtain a new legal team.
The trial could be held as early as February.
Former federal prosecutor Curtis Falgatter could be her new attorney. He spoke for her as they left the courthouse.
“We’re going to wait and have some more hearings, talk to the judge and take some time to prepare for this and look for a good, just result,” Falgatter said. “We almost had one last time with a couple of jurors. But we don’t expect them to get a conviction again.”
The appeal of Brown’s conviction argued the trial judge wasn’t justified in replacing a juror who said the Holy Spirit told him Brown was not guilty.
After the juror was replaced, Brown was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for a total of 18 felony counts related to a charity scheme.
Prior to the decision to overturn, Brown was already out of prison. She had served almost half of her sentence when she was released from prison after her attorney argued that at age 74, she was especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
When asked going into court Monday if she was nervous, Brown would only say, “God is good. ... God is still on the throne.”
Nearly a dozen people were in court in support of Brown.
Off-camera, Brown told News4Jax that her work with others during her months in prison as “a blessing.” She said she counseled many prisoners -- both men and women -- and said she is still in contact with some of them. She said she would talk more about that at a later date.