Federal appeals court affirms convictions, sentences of ex-City Council members

FILE - Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown arrive Tuesday at federal court in Downtown Jacksonville. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three judges from the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit heard oral arguments on Wednesday in the appeals from two former Jacksonville City Council members who were sentenced to prison for multiple counts of fraud involving a federally-backed loan and a city grant for a barbecue sauce business.

The judges ruled Friday, affirming the convictions and sentences of Katrina and Reggie Brown, who are not related, and finding their arguments “lack merit.”

Katrina Brown and her attorney argued the district court erred in allowing closing arguments to proceed despite the absence of her standby counsel, denying her motion to sever her trial from Reggie Brown’s and allowing prosecutors to make a reference in closing arguments that “taxpayer money” was being spent on her fraudulent scheme.

Reggie Brown and his attorney argued the district court erred in not severing his trial from Katrina Brown’s and denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal.

Both had also appealed their sentences on procedural grounds.

In October 2019, Katrina Brown was convicted on 37 different felonies — including money laundering, fraud and conspiracy — and Reggie Brown was convicted of 33 felonies.

They were sentenced in October 2020. Katrina Brown was sentenced to 33 months followed by five years of supervised release. She was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of more than $425,000. Reggie Brown was given a sentence of 18 months, followed by three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of more than $411,000.

Katrina Brown is currently at Marianna Federal Correctional Institution, with a scheduled release date of June 1, 2023.

Reggie Brown is listed with the Orlando Residential Reentry Management field office, meaning he’s already on home confinement or at a re-entry center, with a release date of May 8, 2022.