Prosecutors get 90 more days to consider whether to appeal Corrine Brown case to Supreme Court
Federal prosecutors asked for additional time to consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after an appellate court overturned the conviction of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown on tax and fraud charges.
Will federal prosecutors opt to retry former US Rep. Corrine Brown?
After a federal appeals court ordered a new trial on Thursday for former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday that it’s reviewing the decision and declined to comment on whether prosecutors will pursue a retrial of the once-powerful Florida Democrat.
Federal appeals court overturns former US Rep. Corrine Brown’s conviction
A divided federal appeals court Thursday overturned the conviction of former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on fraud and tax charges, ruling that a juror was improperly removed from her trial because he said the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty.
Judges hear former US Rep. Corrine Brown’s appeal over dismissed juror
The trial judge dismissed Juror 13 citing that the juror disregarded the court’s instruction that he makes a guilty or not-guilty decision based on evidence. AdJuror 13 had made several religious comments about the trial, including that the Holy Spirit told the juror Brown was not guilty. In a brief filed in December, prosecutors said the man made the Holy Spirit comment at the beginning of jury deliberations. “I don’t think it (the Holy Spirit) comment is, in and of itself, disqualifying,” Rhodes said. AdJudge Kevin Newsom dubbed the juror’s Holy Spirit comment the “radioactive statement” in the case.
Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown to begin sentences in federal prison today
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After several attempts to avoid serving any time, two former Jacksonville city council members, Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are scheduled to report to federal prisons today. With that, Katrina Brown has been told to report to Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Sumter County to begin a 33-month prison sentence today. AdThe Federal Bureau of Prisons has not responded to News4Jax as to where Reggie Brown is going, but he is also due to begin his 18-month sentence today. TIMELINE: Prosecution of Katrina Brown and Reggie BrownThe Browns were convicted of more than 30 felonies each, including money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy. During sentencing, the judge noted that neither Katrina nor Reggie showed any remorse during the proceedings despite that they committed a sophisticated and deliberate act of fraud.
Prosecutors push back in Corrine Brown’s appeal
Prosecutors last week filed a 69-page brief, as the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear arguments Feb. 22 about whether it should order a new trial. There’s nothing wrong with belief in answered prayers or in answered prayers themselves,” prosecutors wrote in the brief. But prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida wrote in the brief last week that the key issue is whether jurors properly weigh evidence. Prosecutors wrote in the brief last week that Brown and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, solicited and obtained more than $833,000 in donations for One Door for Education.
Pandemic problems: A look back at all the ways coronavirus hijacked 2020
From the election and the Olympics to face masks and classroom cleaning protocols, coronavirus touched every part of our lives in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic. As we look back over the strangeness of 2020, we’ve compiled some of the biggest coronavirus-related stories of the year. EducationAs uncertainty reigned in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida, district by district schools began to close their doors, sending students into remote learning. When the pandemic first hit the U.S., hospitals quickly faced a shortage of much-needed personal protective equipment for frontline workers.
Ex-Congresswoman Corrine Brown argues religious discrimination in appeal
Corrigan’s decision came after the juror said the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty. “If affirmed on appeal, the district court’s holding poses significant concerns for religious people who believe that God communicates with them,” said the brief, led by the Nebraska attorney general’s office. But religious jurors may not say that they believe the inner voice they attribute to the divine told them the same thing. “The district court’s decision here handily withstands that review. “What the argument is that Corrine Brown was discriminated against in that she had a juror removed from her panel for religious reasons, and you can’t remove a juror for religious reasons,” Nichols said Tuesday.
Spotlight to shine on Florida, but will it be brighter than 2000 election?
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The state of Florida always gains the attention of voters during an election cycle. But the national attention has perhaps never been higher for the Sunshine State during an election than in the year 2000. The mere mention of the 2000 election unsettles people in Palm Beach County. But George W. Bush became president after the Supreme Court decided, 5-4, to halt further Florida recounts, more than a month after Election Day. But as we learned in 2000, Election Day isn’t the end.
Federal judge eases limits on Corrine Brown pending appeal
Brown was released from a Central Florida federal prison earlier this year after her attorney argued health issues made her especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Brown’s attorney filed a renewed motion for release pending appeal and it asked that the judge wave the requirement she check-in with a halfway house. Brown’s appeal of that conviction was initially denied by a three-judge panel, but a couple of weeks ago the full federal appeals court agreed to hear the challenge. Brown’s appeal centers on the judge’s decision to replace a juror who said the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty during her trial in 2017. If the appeal court upholds her conviction, she goes back to serving her remaining sentence.
Judges hear Corrine Brown’s appeal on dismissed juror
Chief Judge William Pryor wrote a scathing dissent to the 2-1 decision, and Brown’s attorneys subsequently asked the full court to take up the case. AdThe appeal centers on a decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to replace a juror during Brown’s 2017 trial. The juror was replaced by an alternate, and Brown was ultimately convicted on 18 felony counts and sentenced to prison. AdBut in fighting the conviction, Brown’s attorneys have cited the dismissal of the juror and raised the prospect of religious discrimination. He was dismissed during jury deliberations after another juror reported concerns to Corrigan about the man’s Holy Spirit comments.
Corrine Browns co-conspirator & former aid leaves halfway house
Ronnie Simmons, the man who was sentenced to four years in prison in connection to a bogus charity scheme, that also landed former Rep. Corrine Brown in federal prison, has been released from a halfway house, News4Jax confirmed Friday. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Simmons was released on Thursday. Simmons, who was Browns former chief of staff, pleaded guilty to charges connected to the One Door for Education charity, that became a slush fund for Brown. Brown was released from prison in April after serving less than half of her five-year sentence after her attorney argued she was especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
Political expert: JEA potentially one of the worst scandals in Jacksonville history
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax political expert Rick Mullaney, former general counsel for Jacksonville, believes there is still much that hasn’t been revealed in the JEA investigation. Several City Council members were later arrested and convicted on fraud charges. Right now former Council Members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are awaiting sentencing on a fraud conviction. During the Morning Show on News4Jax on Thursday, Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson talked about the upcoming investigation. “I think any investigation that the City Council conducts going forward will provide more information," Wilson said.
Ronnie Simmons, Corrine Brown's co-conspirator, wants to leave prison early
He's asking a federal judge to make a recommendation to the Bureau of Prisons. Typically, federal prisoners spend the last six months of their sentence in a halfway house. Simmons is scheduled to get out of a federal prison in Maryland in July 2020 and is slated to go to a halfway house in January. A halfway house placement would allow Simmons to help his mother with doctors appointments and maintain her daily living. Brown is serving a five-year sentence at a federal prison in central Florida, and is scheduled to get out in June 2022.
Corrine Brown's hearing planned for February
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal appeals court has rescheduled a hearing in a challenge filed by former Congresswoman Corrine Brown after she was convicted in a charity scam. Circuit Court of Appeals last week scheduled the arguments on Feb. 1 in Atlanta, according to an online docket. Brown, 72, filed an appeal after she was convicted last year on 18 felony counts and sentenced to five years in prison. The dismissal came after the juror made statements such as the “Holy Ghost” told him Brown was not guilty. Brown, who lost a re-election bid in 2016, is an inmate at the Coleman federal prison in Sumter County, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Judges to hear arguments in Corrine Brown's appeal of her conviction
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal appeals court has announced it will hear oral arguments in former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's appeal of her conviction on 18 federal fraud and tax charges in the One Door for Education scheme. A panel of judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will hear the arguments during the week of Dec. 10 in Atlanta. Brown's appeal is based on the removal of a juror, Juror 13, during deliberations. Brown's appellate attorney, William Kent, filed his appeals brief in March, arguing that U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan erred in dismissing the juror. Prosecutors still have time to file a reply to that appeal from Brown's attorney.
Judge declines to recommend Corrine Brown co-conspirator get out early
In signing the order to deny Carla Wiley's motion, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan said Wiley can still make the same request directly to the Bureau of Prisons. When federal prosecutors filed their opposition to Wiley’s motion, they said Wiley’s request is one that should be made to the Bureau of Prisons, not to the court. Wiley and Brown's former chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, were both sentenced to prison time for their role as co-conspirators in Brown's federal corruption scandal. DOCUMENT | Judge denies Wiley's motionLegal experts said federal prisoners typically only serve 85 percent of their sentences if they show good behavior. Both Wiley and Simmons pleaded guilty and testified against Brown.
Attorney: Corrine Brown verdict should be tossed over dismissal of juror
Legal experts tell News4Jax that Brown's appeal is a long shot. DOCUMENTS: Corrine Brown appeal brief | Request to file lengthy appealBrown's appeal is based entirely on the dismissal of a juror during the guilt phase of her federal trial. That juror had told others on the panel that he had prayed and believed the Holy Spirit had told him Brown was not guilty. The juror responded, “No, I said the Holy Spirit told me that.”The juror told Corrigan he believed he could follow the court's instructions in coming to a fair judgment, but after interviewing both jurors, Corrigan decided juror No. The appeal also argues Brown's Sixth Amendment right to a unanimous verdict was also violated when the juror was dismissed.
Source: Corrine Brown to report to Central Florida prison camp
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a federal appeals court denied Corrine Brown's request to remain out of prison during her appeal this week, a source told the I-TEAM that Brown has been assigned to a Sumter County women's prison camp and will likely report Monday. The source said the 71-year-old former Democratic congresswoman has been assigned to a minimum-security prison camp for women that is adjacent to the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, a medium-security federal prison for men. The prison camp is about a 2½-hour drive from Jacksonville. For some women, Alice said, the process takes two months. READ: Brown motion to delay start of prison term | Brown motion to extend appeal deadlineBrown had asked the 11th U.S.
Corrine Brown's former chief of staff ordered to home confinement
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons has been ordered to home confinement in Maryland until he reports to federal prison next week. Simmons' confinement was ordered Tuesday by Jacksonville Judge Timothy Corrigan, who changed the terms of Simmons' bond pending his reporting to federal prison, which is scheduled for next Monday. Simmons didn't fight the order at a hearing Wednesday, and a judge made it permanent. She told the News4Jax I-TEAM that she also notified the pretrial services office inside the federal courthouse in Jacksonville. Simmons is scheduled to report back to the Annapolis courthouse on Wednesday for a formal hearing on the new peace order.
Corrine Brown's name still on Gainesville transportation building
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Corrine Brown's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4. Gainesville City Commissioners are waiting until after that date to decide on whether to keep her name on the regional transportation system building, according to WCJB. The building was named after Brown in 2014, three years before she was found guilty of 18 fraud-related charges. Brown asked twice for the sentencing hearing to be delayed, but those motions were denied. "The City Commission is aware of the court findings last week, and we are awaiting direction from them on the facility name.”According to WUFT, the idea of naming the building for Brown emerged during a July 2014 city commission meeting.
Corrine Brown 'blindsided' by ex-chief of staff's plea deal
Simmons, 51, will be sentenced after Brown's trial, which is currently set for April 26. Brown's attorney was told Brown has until March 16 to decide if she will accept a plea deal on the 22 federal charges. Brown and Simmons were accused of using an unregistered charity to raise $800,000 that prosecutors said served as a personal "slush fund." “Congresswoman Brown, from the very beginning, has maintained her innocence and she's going to continue to do that throughout the trial,” Smith said. As she left the Federal Courthouse, Brown was flanked by supporters, including Martin Luther King III.
Corrine Brown's former chief of staff pleads guilty to fraud, theft
Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, Brown's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of theft of government propertySimmons, 51, will be sentenced after Brown's trial in April. COURT DOCUMENT: Elias 'Ronnie' Simmons plea agreementSimmons' sister, Monica Simmons Isom, was also in court Wednesday. The I-TEAM learned that Simmons' guilty plea doesn't clear her, and she may still be indicted. Her office released the following statement:"The Congresswoman was saddened today to hear about her long time chief of staff entering a plea of guilty. She maintains her innocence and in no way did she conspire with Ronnie Simmons and or Carla Wiley or anyone to commit any crime.