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Posted: November 01, 2017

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

A jury found Corrine Brown guilty on 18 counts in her federal fraud trial in Jacksonville, Florida.
News | WFOX
A jury found Corrine Brown guilty on 18 counts in her federal fraud trial in Jacksonville, Florida.

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By Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville, FL —

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.


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