JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former congresswoman Corrine Brown is set to change her plea Wednesday in a federal case that involves charges of fraud and conspiracy, avoiding a retrial that was scheduled to take place this fall.
Tuesday morning, News4JAX reporter Jim Piggott spoke with Corrine Brown by phone. She said everything will come out in court tomorrow.
“I want you to know, God has been good to me,” Brown said. “I just talked to my pastor and I know that He goes in front of me and make the crooked straight. That’s all I can tell you, He’s good.”
Brown was indicted in 2016 on charges that included conspiracy, wire fraud, and tax fraud, on accusations that she used contributions to the One Door for Education charity for personal expenses. Brown was convicted on some of the charges in May 2017, and began a five-year prison sentence in January 2018. Brown was released in April 2020, due to coronavirus concerns.
Following her conviction, Brown appealed the guilty verdict, arguing the trial judge wasn’t justified in replacing a juror who said the Holy Spirit told him Brown was not guilty. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals initially upheld Brown’s conviction.
Brown’s attorneys then asked for a rehearing before the full 11th Circuit, known as an “en banc” hearing. In May 2021, the appellate court reversed the conviction with a 7-4 decision, sending the case back to the district court for a potential retrial.
In October 2021, we learned that prosecutors planned to re-try Brown on the felony counts she faced in her 2017 trial. At the time, we learned prosecutors had already extended her a plea deal to avoid being retried and the possibility of a return to prison, an offer she rejected at the time.
Following the appointment of a new defense team, Brown’s retrial was set to take place in September of 2022.
News4JAX Jim Piggott spoke with attorney Curtis Fallgatter, “(Jim) Are you surprised at all? (Curtis) A little bit, but not terribly because of the age of the case, the complexity of the case, the number of issues, reversal on appeal issues about a retrial, can I get a conviction, the age of Brown.”
The court document indicating that Brown will be changing her plea does not indicate what charges she may be pleading guilty to, or what sentence could potentially be imposed.
Fallgatter doesn’t believe Brown will serve any additional time. He said she would not agree to that, and the agreement should be an end to the case.
Brown is getting her pension, and that likely will not change.