Now Playing
HOT 99.5
Last Song Played
Duval's ONLY R&B
On Air
No Program
Now Playing
HOT 99.5
Last Song Played
Duval's ONLY R&B


200 items
Results 11 - 20 of 200 < previous next >

Judge won’t sentence former Rep. Corrine Brown, co-defendants until December

Former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown will present witnesses Thursday to show a judge why she should get probation for her 18 federal fraud-related convictions. Her co-defendants- her former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of the sham charity they used for the fraud Carla Wiley- present their cases Wednesday, also hoping to avoid jail time.

But none of them will know until December how much time they will serve.

FULL COVERAGE: The fraud trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

US District Judge Timothy Corrigan has issued a order telling the parties involved that the court will consider everything presented during the hearings Wednesday and Thursday, and will reconvene Monday, December 4th, for the actual pronouncement of sentence. There is no further explanation for the order.

Corrigan’s order further says Brown’s character witnesses will be limited in the time each is alloted to speak on her behalf, noting that Brown’s sentencing memorandum said she intended to call dozens of witnesses. Three character witnesses will be allowed up to five minutes, while the others will be alloted two minutes each. The time constraints apply only to character witnesses specifically.

Brown’s defense is asking the court that she serve probation, after being found guilty of 18 of 22 federal fraud-related charges. Brown and her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars to the sham charity “One Door For Education”, but used the money for large events and personal expenses instead. The President of One Door, Carla Wiley, pleaded guilty to separately taking money from One Door’s account online for herself. Brown was also found guilty of underreporting her income and overreporting charitable contributions on her financial disclosure forms and tax returns.

Wiley is asking for probation or a short period of home detention. Working off her Probation Officer’s report, prosecutors are recommending anywhere between 1 year 9 months and 2 years 3 months. Simmons’ defense is moving for an alternative sentence including home detention, while the government recommends between 2 years 9 months and 3 years 5 months. Both Simmons and Wiley testified against Brown at her trial after pleading guilty themselves, and prosecutors recommended they face lighter sentences because of their cooperation.

The government has not put a specific number on what their recommendation for Brown’s sentence will be, but their sentencing memo detailed many enhancements they’re recommending as part of her sentencing. A prior motion from the defense says Brown has been recommended for a “significant” amount of time.

WOKV will be in the courtroom for this week’s sentencing hearings.

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, Chief of Staff aim to avoid prison time

Prosecutors still aren’t releasing exactly how much time they’re recommending former Northeast Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown spend in prison following 18 fraud-related convictions, but Brown’s defense says guidelines call for between 7 years and 3 months and 9 years.

The defense is hoping for probation with community service. They’ll argue that in federal court during her sentencing hearing Thursday, November 16th, but have now submitted a sentencing memo outlining some of their arguments. As part of the sentencing memo, the defense also submitted a “comprehensive mitigation report” prepared by a mitigation expert who served as a Probation Officer for more than 20 years, Carlos Dawson. 

FULL COVERAGE: The trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

Brown’s attorney James Smith III says probation would be the “reasonable” sentence for a number of reasons, including Brown’s personal history and character and how her case compares with other public integrity cases. 

The memo describes Brown as “one of the greatest soldiers” of the fight against racism, prejudice, and discrimination in the US. It also highlights her “decades of public service” as an advocate for people of all races. The defense plans to present “dozens” of witnesses who will speak to the positive impact Brown has had on their lives, according to the memo. 

Her ties to others- specifically her family- are more reasons the court should give a more lenient sentence, according to the defense. Smith argues Brown coordinates care for her elderly mother who suffers dementia. The mitigation report says Brown will also need to provide support for her daughter, who has undergone a thyroidectomy and still needs to have a hysterectomy. 

The defense further argues Brown is not at risk for committing more crime. Part of the reason for this is her age- she will be 71 at the time of her sentencing hearing- and lack of prior criminal activity. She has also performed 16 months of pretrial release without incident, according to the mitigation report. Smith also notes the repercussions this trial has had on her personally. 

“Corrine Brown’s conduct, her personal characteristics and accomplishments, and the humiliation and ostracization she has already experienced during the trial demonstrate that a term of probation with a condition of community service is the appropriate sentence,” the memo says. 

The defense says Brown will never hold public office again because of what’s happened, so there is no risk she will commit another public integrity offense. Her “mental and emotional condition” also warrants more leniency, according to the mitigation report, however there are no further details available on the nature of that condition. That report further says Brown has at least 14 confirmed medical diagnoses, including recent problems with memory loss, the possibility of glaucoma, and untreated sleep apnea. 

Prosecutors noted in their sentencing memo that no other comparable case they’ve studied resulted in a sentence of probation. The defense says those other public integrity cases do show that sentencing below the recommended guidelines is justified, especially because Brown committed “the least egregious” crimes compared to the other defendants. The defense also draws a comparison between Brown’s case and that of her two co-defendants- Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of the sham charity “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley- saying they benefitted more from the fraud than Brown, so it would be improper for her to face the harshest sentence. 

“While Ms. Wiley and Mr. Simmons did plead guilty, their cases do not have the extensive mitigating and extenuating factors that are present in this case. The United States would have to concede that neither Carla Wiley nor Ronnie Simmons have the extensive record of good works and public service,” the memo says. 

The mitigation report also says, when examining fraud cases more broadly, there are instances where probation is included in the sentence. That report further says Brown did not create or manage “One Door”, which was used to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations that the trio used instead for their own personal expenses. In addition to saying Brown profited the least from the scheme, the defense also criticized the loss table that’s used to craft the sentencing guidelines, saying it leads to “unnecessarily harsh” sentences. 

Brown tried twice- unsuccessfully- to postpone her sentencing hearing because of a number of issues, including damage she suffered as a result of Hurricane Irma, which has left her displaced for several weeks. The mitigation report lists that as another reason that a downward adjustment in her sentence from the guidelines is warranted. 

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors criticized comments Brown made against the justice system, federal law enforcement, and other entities ahead of trial, as well as statements alleging possible jury tampering after the verdicts. Brown’s defense says this is an attempt by prosecutors to paint Brown as “an angry woman”. 

“What the United States fails to take into consideration is that Corrine Brown was born and raised in a country that is very different from the one we live in today. African Americans of her generation grew up in a nation where racism was the official law of the land. They know very well the sordid history of this nation when it comes to the treatment of African Americans because they experienced it first hand. They went to the segregated schools, they were forced to live in the segregated neighborhoods, they saw family members and friends mistreated by what was then a racist criminal justice system, and they know exactly why many cities in the south have streets named Division Avenue,” the defense’s sentencing memo says. 

Smith further argues that if Brown said “less than kind” things, it was like “muscle memory” from the past. 

“One would think that knowing this history and the understandable stress of being prosecuted by the federal government the United States would show some grace to Corrine Brown for whatever statements she made prior to trial,” the memo says. 

The defense’s sentencing memo says following the sentencing recommendation would amount to a life sentence for Brown, and would be “devastating” for Brown physically and emotionally. Instead, he’s asking to let Brown continue to work to benefit others through community service, in order to achieve “restorative justice” instead of a pure punishment. The memo and mitigation report list some of Brown’s accomplishments from her time in office, and urges the court to allow her to continue making “a positive contribution to society”. 

Additionally, the mitigation report says an alternative sentence for Brown would allow her to work more immediately on paying restitution. 

The attorney for Ronnie Simmons has also submitted a pre-sentence report, pushing for Simmons to receive an alternative sentence including home detention. 

Simmons is one of two co-defendants who pleaded guilty ahead of trial and testified against Brown. Because of his “substantial” cooperation, prosecutors recommended he face a lighter sentence than guidelines call for- anywhere between 2 years 9 months and 3 years 5 months. 

The pre-sentence report says Simmons’ first “real job” was working for Brown, and he continued that for 24 years, becoming more like family. His defense says Brown taught Simmons about politics, and he learned how she “did business”- including that politics is “a pay to play sport”. 

“He did what she told him exactly as he testified to because no one challenged Corrine Brown when she gave orders,” the report says. 

Simmons’ attorney says his nature is not “sinister”, and he eventually realized it was the “right thing” to do to admit what happened and assist the government. 

“The government will state how Mr. Simmons testimony was crucial to the U.S. government. But it cannot tell you what crucible Elias Simmons had to go through to get to the point of his cooperation. But once he did, he did so without reservation,” the report says. 

In addition to pleading to a conspiracy charge in the “One Door” scheme, Simmons also pleaded guilty to theft of government funds for getting his sister a “ghost” job on the Hill for which she did little work and he took from her salary. To mitigate the punishment for that, the defense claims Simmons’ sister did, in fact, do some work- although not in a full time capacity. 

Simmons’ defense also notes that he is raising his grandson, has a “solid family”, and poses no danger to society. He is currently consulting a bankruptcy attorney because his financial situation has deteriorated, according to the report. His attorney claims Simmons is “less culpable” than Brown, because he did not hold the position of trust as a public employee which she did. He has also fully accepted responsibility, shows substantial remorse, and cooperated fully with the government, according to Simmons’ attorney. 

Finally, Simmons’ attorney offers that part of his sentence could include speaking engagements as community service, in order to share his experience with the community. 

“That actions such as demonstrated by Corrine Brown and himself are not tolerated are not justified and no amount of victimization rhetoric is appropriate. Justice prevailed and right conduct is rewarded and wrong conduct is punished. Ronnie Simmons is willing to be that voice,” the report says, on the nature of those speaking engagements. 

WOKV will be inside the courtroom for the sentencing hearings. While the judge will hear arguments November 15th and 16th, he will not issue his order on the sentences until December 4th. 

Prosecutors seek “justice” in sentence for “significant” case against former Rep. Corrine Brown

“Leaders of American democracy owe a duty to the public to act within  the law, uphold the highest ethical standards, and conduct themselves beyond reproach. Corrine Brown failed in those areas. She became corrupt. Society expects courts to punish convicted and corrupt politicians.”

It’s the start of the sentencing memorandum from the US government in the case against now-former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown, and it makes it clear that prosecutors think Brown should serve some serious prison time.

The government isn’t giving any specific figure yet for how long they believe Brown’s sentence should be, but the 50-page memo details multiple enhancements that have been recommended by her Probation Officer, and with which prosecutors agree. This memo comes on the same day the US Attorney’s Office recommended more lenient sentences for Brown’s two co-defendants, who both pleaded guilty and testified in Brown’s trial. 

Those co-defendants, Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of sham charity “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley, will both be sentenced November 15th. Brown faces sentencing on November 16th.

FULL COVERAGE: The federal fraud trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

Speaking on the convictions, prosecutors scorn Brown’s “ridicule” of the American justice system, lack of remorse, and willingness to blame others.

“Corrine Brown’s mantra that the prosecution was racially and politically motivated is, and always has been, a complete fabrication to distract the public- and no doubt potential jurors- from the very serious allegations against her,” the memo says.

They further say the longstanding tax fraud and other things show Brown’s “entitlement disposition transitioned into criminal conduct”.

Prosecutors note on several occasions that Simmons and Wiley are not without blame. In addition to essentially taking over control of “One Door” from his then-girlfriend Wiley and linking Brown to the group, Simmons is accused of getting his sister a job with the House for which she did little actual work but got paid for- money he shared. Wiley was separately taking money from “One Door’s” account online and transferring it in to her personal account.

Brown was convicted on 18 fraud related charges, many of which stemmed from soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the sham charity “One Door”, and using the money for personal expenses and lavish events like a luxury box at an NFL game and Beyone concert instead. She was further found guilty of not claiming income from “One Door” on her financial disclosures or tax forms, while also overreporting charitable contributions.

“The real travesty of this case is what One Door could have been. Corrine Brown had the power, willing donation base, and clear opportunity to transform One Door into a life changing charity,” the memo says. “Brown, Simmons, and Wiley not only squandered this opportunity, they abused it for their own benefit. The voiceless victims in this case are the students who received nothing.”

Brown under oath

Some of Brown’s explanations on the stand were without merit, according to prosecutors. One line of questioning was around how Brown could explain cash deposits she was receiving, which the government says was money funneled from “One Door”.

“I had birthday. I had Christmas. You know, and sometimes I had boyfriends. So I mean, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brown testified.

“Instead of providing an honest answer, Brown chose to quip and lie under oath,” the sentencing memo says.

Beyond these “quips”, prosecutors say there were several flat out falsehoods and instances of perjury in Brown’s testimony.

“Throughout her testimony, Brown attempted to weave together explanations for the charged criminal conduct, explanations that were inconsistent, beyond far-fetched, outright false, and refuted by the evidence,” the memo says.

Examples of that outlined in the court records include Brown’s testimony on the role of Von Alexander in the money transfers, her accusations that some of the exhibits at trial were not completely accurate, her statements about not knowing Simmons was engaged in any wrongdoing, and more.

In fact, when asked about Simmons during trial, Brown had an emotional outburst that led the judge to call a recess. Prosecutors go so far in this memo as to call that breakdown “contrived”.

She also tried to cast doubt on some of the forensic accounting while on the stand, saying agents were fabricating information or not using complete financial data- which prosecutors deny.

Brown blaming others

Prosecutors say Brown refuses to take responsibility for her actions or show remorse. Instead, they pointed to several portions of the defense’s case and Brown’s testimony where she blamed others.

In her testimony about problems with her tax filings, for example, Brown put much of the blame on her tax preparer and the person in her office who handled the form. Both of them testified that they had to consistently push Brown to get the forms done on time and that they filled out the forms according to what she said, even if they didn’t have full documentation of her claims. Brown testified that she should have paid closer attention to those filings, and that she was guilty of mismanaging her personal finances and office, but not of criminal offenses.

The defense was built around blaming Simmons for what happened, saying he preyed on Brown and her position for his own financial benefit. Simmons testified that many of the financial transactions he made between “One Door” and Brown were at her express direction, noting that if she was not directing him, he would not have had any reason to give her money.

Brown’s pre- and post-trial statements

Hand-in-hand with the blame she placed on other people are comments Brown made about the justice system, their motivations in this case, and other areas that prosecutors refute across the board.

The memo outlines some of the statements that raised flags for the government, including Brown saying the prosecution was to “take her out”, that she was being “persecuted” because of her race, that the indictment was “half-truth and witch hunt”, and similar things.

Ahead of one pre-trial, Brown even served ice cream for supporters from a truck just outside of the courthouse, while distributing an editorial talking about her being a victim of a “racist system”.

The comments didn’t stop after her conviction- she did interview where she made comments including that she believed there may have been jury tampering.

“These public comments speak for themselves. Corrine Brown heaved rhetoric and undue criticism at every facet of the criminal justice system, both prior to and after the fair trial that she received,” the memo says.

Prosecutors say Brown could have chosen- as her co-defendants did- to not make public comment. Instead, the memo says she failed to show remorse and resorted instead to these blame tactics.

Brown’s abuse of a position of trust

“Corrine Brown held one of the highest positions of public trust in American democracy. She abused that trust in multiple ways,” the sentencing memo says.

One of the chief abuses, according to prosecutors, is how Brown used the relationships she had built and her status in Congress to “trick” donors. Donors testified they trusted Brown, and her reputation and the fact that she voiched for it is what led them to donate.

“The Court must fashion a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offenses, promotes respect for law, provides just punishment for the offenses, and affords general and specific deterrence,” the memo says.

And in an effort to get ahead of Brown’s anticipated defense in sentencing focusing on her history of charitable work and fighting for the needs of her constituents, prosecutors say that very public office was “critical” to her crimes.

“No amount of good work can overshadow the fact that Brown used the very same goodwill she generated over the years as the means to commit crimes, and then made efforts to hide her crimes from the electorate and taxpayers,” the memo says.

The memo further notes that there is a wide range in how “public corruption/fraud cases” have been handled in the country. While the sentences recommended in those cases varied widely, the government says none led to a recommendation of probation- as Brown is seeking.

“This is a significant case. The Court must fashion a sentence for each defendant that renders justice,” the memo says.

Government recommends lighter sentences for former Rep. Corrine Brown’s co-defendants, citing “substantial assistance”

Under new sentencing recommendations put forward from the US Attorney’s Office, the co-defendants in the trial of former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown would not avoid prison time.

The government has recommended lighter sentences for Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley, because of their “substantial assistance”. In Simmons’ case, the government is recommending a few steps down from what his Probation Officer has outlined, which would lead to a sentence somewhere between 2 years 9 months and 3 years 5 months, according to advisory guidelines. Wiley’s sentence would fall between 1 year 9 months and 2 years 3 months. 

The judge will decide the final sentence, with both Simmons and Wiley appearing in court Wednesday, November 15th. 

FULL COVERAGE: The federal fraud trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

The government’s motions come a day after Wiley submitted character letters to the court, in an effort to avoid prison time outright. She could face up to 20 years, after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She cooperated with the government- including testifying both during the grand jury phase and Brown’s trial- leading to indictments against Brown and Simmons. 

Simmons pleaded guilty to two counts- conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and theft of government funds- in February 2018. As part of his plea, he also testified against Brown during her trial. He could face up to 30 years in prison, per the plea agreement. 

Brown was convicted on 18 of 22 federal fraud related charges for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for “One Door” while promoting the group as a charity, but using the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. She also failed to report the money she was making from the group and overreported her charitable contributions in tax forms and financial disclosures. Brown is facing sentencing November 16th- the day after Simmons and Wiley. 

Simmons took part in the scam with Brown and was the one who introduced One Door to her. He was dating Wiley at the time, and Wiley testified that she essentially let Simmons take over control of the group, including the checks and debit card. Simmons also got his sister a job on the Hill in order to share in her paycheck, without his sister actually performing much work. Wiley separately transferred money from One Door to her personal account online.

Brown has tried unsuccessfully to get a new trial or be acquitted outright. She also made two motions to postpone her sentencing hearing, but both were denied by the judge. 

Separate motions for an order of forfeiture filed Thursday recommend a forfeiture of $654,292.39 against Wiley and $760,292.39 against Simmons. The motions say the vast majority of that sum will be shared among the three co-defendants, instead of individually imposed.

For second time, former Congresswoman Corrine Brown denied delay in sentencing hearing

Former Northeast Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown has again been denied a delay in her sentencing hearing on 18 federal fraud-related charges.

Brown’s first motion was turned down last week because of a lack of specificity. She claimed that damage from Hurricane Irma was inhibiting her ability to mount a defense, but didn’t detail how.

FULL COVERAGE: The trial of former Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown

This week, Brown’s attorney filed a second motion for a continuance, with new claims and added detail. The motion said Irma damaged papers that were important for Brown showing her past history of charitable work, and that her home was being mitigated as a result of damage and she needed more time to oversee that. Additionally, the motion said Brown was still undergoing evaluation for medical, mental, and emotional conditions- and the result of those evaluations could also impact the sentence she receives.

Prosecutors objected to any further delay, saying it was Brown’s responsibility to get those evaluations done, and she makes no explanation for why that hasn’t happened or what she’s doing to make it happen. Additionally, the government says Brown missed the court’s deadline for filing objections to her Probation Officer’s Presentence Report, and didn’t notify prosecutors when those objections were ultimately filed.

In his ruling denying this second motion to continue sentencing, US District Judge Timothy Corrigan says Brown has now raised additional issues beyond what was addressed in her first motion, but they are issues that can be addressed during the sentencing, instead of before. He further says he has reviewed medical records provided by Brown- which are sealed- and that nothing in them shows a reson to postpone sentencing.

If Brown shows during the hearing that there are documents or information she was not able to obtain, Corrigan says he will consider allowing more time, once those arguments are made.

The hearing is scheduled for November 16th at 10 AM. WOKV will be there to provide continuing coverage.

The defense is seeking probation for Brown’s 18 fraud related convictions. The defense has indicated that Brown’s Probation Officer recommended she serve a “significant” prison time, although the exact recommendation is not public at this time.

Brown was convicted of soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars to a sham charity and using the money on personal expenses and lavish events instead. She was also found guilty of overstating her charitable donations and underreporting her income on both tax and financial disclosure forms. Brown claimed through the trial that she mismanaged her personal finances and office, but didn’t intentionally engage in criminal acts.

She has previously moved for a new trial or outright acquittal, but those efforts were denied as well.

The co-defendants in this case- Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door” Carla Wiley- have their sentencing hearings the day before Brown, November 15th. Both pleaded guilty ahead of trial and testified against Brown.

Government objects to delaying former Rep. Brown’s sentencing: She “simply does not wish to appear”

Once again calling the request “bare bones”, the US Attorney’s Office is objecting to former Northeast Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s second attempt to delay her sentencing hearing.

In this latest opposition, prosecutors not only call out Brown for being unprepared, but say she hasn’t been making the proper notifications to the government and that her defense has lied about his contact with them as well.

FULL COVERAGE: The trial of Corrine Brown

Brown filed a second motion to continue her sentencing hearing Tuesday, citing several reasons. Her attorney argued the Presentence Report from her Probation Officer lacked complete information on Brown’s medical, mental, and emotional condition, which would be important to weigh during sentencing. Additionally, the motion argued Brown was having difficulty gathering information needed to show her history of charitable work, because her documents had been damaged in Hurricane Irma. She further told the court that her home was undergoing “mitigation” because of damage from the storm, and she needed more time to see that through.

In their response to Brown’s motion, prosecutors say Brown has had 90 days to prepare for her sentencing hearing- which is currently scheduled for November 16th- but waited until two weeks before the hearing to submit the “bare bones” motion. The government says Brown’s motion doesn’t explain why she hasn’t completed certain tasks- like getting a complete medical evaluation- and what efforts are being made to complete those.

Additionally, prosecutors say it is “untrue” that Brown’s counsel conferred with them before filing his latest motion, as the motion says. Instead, they say they learned about it when it was filed. The government also says they were not given Brown’s objections to the Presentence Report by Brown’s counsel, and only found out about them through the Probation Officer. They further claim the objections lack specificity and were submitted five days after the due date. Brown also did not notify the Probation Officer that she had failed to complete medical and other evaluations she believed to be necessary, according to prosecutors.

The PSR is not a public document, so WOKV is not able to access any of the specific recommendations or Brown’s objections, but the defense indicated in its motion that the report recommends Brown serve “significant and lengthy prison time”.

The government says Brown has also failed to provide an explanation of why she can’t get the needed interviews and documents speaking to her past charitable work. They argue there are supporters who are prepared to speak for Brown at the sentencing.

The judge previously rejected Brown’s first motion for a continuance because she didn’t explain specifically why some of the hardship she claimed impacted her ability to mount her defense. That first motion was based largely on Brown’s claim that damage from Hurricane Irma affected their preparation.

Prosecutors say this time is no different.

“In sum, this motion is just like the last. The lack of specificity should again result in the denial of a continuance. Brown simply does not wish to appear for sentencing. That is no reason for delay,” says the response from prosecutors.

The defense is hoping Brown gets probation for her 18 fraud related convictions. The November sentencing date was set in August, when a judge denied her requests for a new trial and judgement of acquittal. Her co-defendants- her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley- face sentencing a day before Brown, on November 15th.

Brown was found guilty of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for “One Door”, promoting the group as a charity, and using the money instead for personal expenses and lavish events. She also failed to report income she received from “One Door” and overreported charitable donations one her financial disclosure forms and tax returns.

It’s unclear when the judge will rule on Brown’s motion.

After recommendation of “lengthy prison time”, former Rep. Corrine Brown makes second attempt at delay

It was just late last week that a federal judge denied former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s motion to delay her sentencing hearing- and now, her defense is making a second attempt.

The second motion to continue sentencing hearing and motion to reconsider/rehear order denying continuance filed Tuesday rely heavily on the Presentence Report, which the defense says does not present “sufficient information” in a number of areas. The PSR was put together by Brown’s Probation Officer and submitted on October 12th, according to court records.

The PSR itself is not considered a public document, so it’s exact contents are not clear, however this new motion indicates the PSR recommends “a significant and lengthy prison time” for Brown. Brown’s defense is seeking probation.

FULL COVERAGE: The trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

One area the PSR “fails to present sufficient information”, according to the defense, is when considering Brown’s medical and physical condition. The motion says Brown is still undergoing testing and evaluation, and that “additional suspected medical conditions have not yet been fully diagnosed”. The motion further says those anticipated findings will likely be “significant”. Brown’s mental and emotional condition is also not fully examined in the PSR, according to the motion. The defense says she is “undergoing evaluative treatment regarding the implications of certain abnormalities” in those areas.

The motion also calls back to the prior arguments from the defense, which is that damage Brown suffered from Hurricane Irma inhibits their ability to mount a defense. Unlike the prior motion for a continuance- which was ultimately denied by a judge, in part because of a lack of specifics- this motion details the ways in which the storm affected their case building efforts. Brown’s defense says documents that are “indispensable” to showing her history of charitable works and good service prior to her offenses were destroyed. They believe that history can be recreated through interviews, but need more time to work through that. The motion further says the damage to Brown’s home- which the defense says FEMA has determined makes the home uninhabitable- is being mitigated, but Brown needs more time to see that through in order to “protect the investment in the property”.

Finally, the motion argues the PSR doesn’t have enough information about the statistical analysis and comparison of United States Sentencing Commission data on comparable sentences nationwide.

In all, the defense argues they need more time to investigate and examine any of this information they believe to be missing, so that  they can be adequately prepared for sentencing.

The defense is asking the sentencing be continued to February. It’s currently scheduled for November 16th- a date that was set back in August, when their motions for a new trial and for an acquittal were denied. The motion indicates that the US Attorney’s Office objects to any continuance, and the judge has given the government until 5PM Thursday to formally respond.

Brown was convicted in May on 18 federal fraud related charges for soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization called “One Door For Education”- which she promoted as a charity- and using the money instead for personal expenses and lavish events. Those charges also include tax and financial disclosure violations for failing to report money she received from “One Door” as income, and for overreporting her charitable contributions. She was acquitted of four charges also connected to this case. Through the process, Brown has claimed that she was negligent in managing her office and her personal finances, but did not intend to do anything wrong.

Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door” Carla Wiley were both co-defendents in this case. Both pleaded guilty and testified against Brown during her trial. Their sentencing is scheduled for the day before hers, November 15th.

Top Florida state senator resigns in wake of affair

A Florida state senator, in line to become the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate next year, abruptly resigned Friday.

>> Read more trending news

State Sen. Jeff Clemens of Atlantis, made the announcement after Politico reported he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

“I have made mistakes I (am) ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better,” Clemens said in a statement.

He emailed a shorter statement to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, saying “Please consider this email as my resignation from the Florida Senate.”

Clemens said his resignation was effective immediately. Under state law, Gov. Rick Scott must set the date for a special election to fill Clemens’ seat.

“It is clear to me Senator Clemens made a decision he feels is best for both his family and his constituents,” Negron said.

In his public statement, Clemens said, “Though they have been aware for some time now, I apologize again to my wife, my family and anyone and everyone that I have treated poorly in the past for putting you through this in such a public way. I will continue the therapy I began months ago, will seek to personally apologize to anyone I have wronged while seeking forgiveness, and will spend my time being a better husband and father.”

The resignation came less than 24 hours after Clemens sent an email apologizing to Senate Democrats on Thursday night as Politico was preparing to report that Clemens had an affair with lobbyist Devon West. West worked for the Martin County government and now works for Broward County’s lobbying office. Efforts to reach her on Friday were unsuccessful.

“I take full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize for bringing any embarrassment to the Caucus,” Clemens said in the Thursday night email to his colleagues. “I have spent much of the past six months going to therapy, strengthening my relationship with my wife and my kids, and trying to be a better human being. I still have quite a ways to go. But I am unwavering in my resolve to get there.”

Judge denies former Rep. Brown’s motion to delay sentencing

A Judge has denied former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s request to delay her sentencing hearing.

Earlier this week, Brown filed a motion asking for at least four more months to prepare because of damage she suffered from Hurricane Irma. The motion said Brown lost “personal property and effects” and her home was deemed by FEMA to be uninhabitable- and all of that was impacting her ability to prepare her defense.

FULL COVERAGE: The trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

Prosecutors said Brown didn’t clearly explain why the damage was affecting her defense, calling on the Judge to not give her any “special treatment” beyond what other defendants were receiving. They also noted that there has been six weeks since the storm- and there are still another three weeks to go before sentencing- and Brown is able to get any lost documents through online court records.

The order from US District Judge Timothy Corrigan essentially affirms what the government argued. The order says parties have known about the November 16th sentencing date since mid-August, and while the court is “sympathetic” to the damage she suffered, Brown didn’t clearly explain why the delay was needed.

The Court will hear any arguments from Brown during the sentencing hearing about any documents she wasn’t able to recover or access, and consider at that time if more time is needed to produce those documents.

Brown was convicted in May on 18 of 22 fraud-related counts for soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to a sham charity “One Door For Education” and using the money on personal expenses and lavish events instead. She was also found guilty of underreporting income from “One Door” on her financial disclosures and tax returns, while overreporting charitable donations on her tax forms.

She has been out on bond for the duration of court proceedings.

A day before her sentencing- November 15th- Brown’s co-defendants, her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door” Carla Wiley, will have their sentencing hearings. Both pleaded guilty and testified against Brown during her trial.

Prosecutors are pushing for a harsh penalty against Brown- decades or more behind bars- while the defense is trying to keep her out of prison outright.

Government objects to “bare bones” motion to delay former Rep. Corrine Brown’s sentencing

After former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown asks a judge to delay her sentencing hearing because of loss she suffered during Hurricane Irma, the US Attorney’s Office has objected to the request.

In the government’s response, prosecutors say Brown’s motion for a continuance was “bare bones” and didn’t explain how losing “personal papers and effects” in Irma impact her ability to prepare for sentencing. The government further says Brown should be treated the same as any other defendant who was affected by Irma, and that they’re not aware of any other pending criminal cases in this division that have had a delay, this far out from the storm. The sentencing was set in August, when Brown was denied motions for an acquittal and for a new trial.

FULL COVERAGE:The trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

Brown has met with her Probation Officer since the hurricane to provide information for a Pre-Sentence Report, according to the government. Prosecutors say completing the meeting shows Brown is, in fact, capable of preparing for her sentencing hearing.

Brown’s motion for a continuance says she lost “personal papers and effects” because of Irma, and that FEMA recently told her her home was uninhabitable. This response from the government says Brown’s defense still maintains access to all available court records through the court’s online system.

The sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for November 16th, but the defense is asking for another four months. Brown’s co-defendants, her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley, face sentencing November 15th.

Brown was convicted in May of 18 fraud-related charges for soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for “One Door”- which was a sham charity- and using the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. She also failed to report income from One Door on financial disclosures and tax forms, while overreporting charitable donations. Brown says she was negligent in managing her personal finances and affairs, but did not knowingly engage in corruption.

Brown has remained out on bond, pending her sentencing hearing. Simmons and Wiley both pleaded guilty and testified against Brown during her trial. They have remained out on bond as well, pending their sentencings.

200 items
Results 11 - 20 of 200 < previous next >