Corrine Brown's fraud conviction upheld by federal appeals court

Former 12-term Congresswoman to continue serving 5-year prison term

SKY News
January 10, 2020 - 7:47 am
Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

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JACKSONVILLE -- A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s conviction on a fraud charges that sent her to prison for five years.

A Jacksonville jury found her guilty last year of wire and mail fraud and several related charges involving a children’s charity that funneled political donations into Brown’s personal accounts. 

Brown entered a minimum-security women’s camp at the Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Sumter County in January 2018.

Attorneys for Brown had argued she was wrongly convicted based on a judge’s decision to remove from her case a juror who said he had received guidance from the “Holy Spirit” attesting to Brown’s innocence.

A majority of a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to replace the juror with an alternate during Brown’s 2017 trial. The former 12-term Democratic congresswoman from Jacksonville was ultimately convicted on 18 felony counts.

The ruling about Corrigan’s decision sharply split the appeals panel judges.

Thursday’s ruling means Brown is likely to remain imprisoned well after other defendants in the fraud have left the justice system behind.

Carla Wiley, president of One Door for Education, the nonprofit that Brown promoted, was released from custody in July 2019 after completing a 21-month sentence.

Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, is scheduled to finish a four-year sentence in June 2020 and be released from a Baltimore halfway house.

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