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Posted: November 12, 2017

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

Now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown at the federal courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville for her fraud trial
Action News Jax
Now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown at the federal courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville for her fraud trial

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By Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville,  FL —

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.


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