Suspended Councilwoman Katrina Brown wants separate trial on fraud charges

Co-defendant Reggie Brown also asks federal judge for seperate trial

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

Katrina Brown, Reggie Brown arrive at U.S. Courthouse in Jacksonville for hearing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The two suspended Jacksonville City Council members share a last name and dozens of federal charges filed against them -- and the desire not to be tried together.

Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are not related but were both indicted in May on 38 counts involving fraud involving money loaned to Katrina Brown's family business.

Thursday, Reggie Brown's lawyer filed three motions with the court, asking that he not be tried with Katrina Brown, asking that some of the charges be dropped and asking that language about his vote in support of the Katrina Brown family's barbecue business be stricken from the indictment.

On Friday, Katrina Brown's attorney filed motions on her behalf, including one saying she can't get a fair trial if the two are tried together. Her motion notes that since Reggie Brown's motion made it clear he is going to try to shift blame to her, it will harm her defense. 

Katrina Brown's motions also ask that counts 15-33 be dismissed -- the same request Reggie Brown's attorney made the day before. The lawyers claim some of those are multiple charges for the same offense and others claim the alleged crimes happened more than a year after the alleged conspiracy ended.

Another one of Katrina Brown's motions asks that counts 34-37 be separated from the rest of the charges, arguing that they are not based "on the same act or transaction."  Lawyers said the government alleges that the crimes charged in those counts took place nearly a year after the conspiracy outlined in the majority of the counts ended.

Katrina Brown also asked that language about Reggie Brown's 2011 vote in City Council for the loan for the barbecue business be stricken, that language about the mission of the Small Business Administration and a sentence about the barbecue sauce business be cut because it is prejudicial. 

Other motions filed by Katrina Brown's lawyer asked for all evidence against her to be released by government prosecutors at least 60 days before a trial -- which is currently set for February -- including handwritten notes, written witness statements and recordings of interviews.

The two were suspended from City Council after the indictment and Gov. Rick Scott appointed interim council members. Both seats are up for re-election next spring.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.