16 character witnesses presented before US District Judge Timothy Corrigan during the sentencing hearing for the now-former Northeast Florida Democratic Representative. For some, Brown was the godmother to a child, to others she was a tireless public servant, to still others she was an inspiration.
“Devoted, faithful, committed,” says Bishop Kelvin Cobaris, the President of the African American Council of Christian Clergy, in central Florida.
“She means the absolute world to me,” says a longtime friend of Brown.
“It was not just saving people’s homes, she was saving people’s lives,” says Neighborhood Assistance Cooperation of America founder and CEO Bruce Marks.
“The sentence that we are asking for is extraordinary, but that sentence is being asked for on behalf of someone who’s extraordinary and has lived an extraordinary life,” Smith says.
But prosecutors have now confirmed they’re recommending Corrigan adopt what the advisory sentencing guidelines call for in this case- up to nine years in prison. If the Court seeks to give Brown a lighter sentence, the government wants her to serve no less than five years.
“This was a significant criminal case,” Duva says.
“Corrine Brown committed crimes on that witness stand. She lied for hours on end,” Duva says.
Corrigan says this is something he plans to very carefully consider, after Smith raised an objection to classifying any of Brown’s testimony as obstruction of justice.
“Just because a person testifies at trial and is convicted, doesn’t mean they committed perjury,” he says.
Duva also read several statements Brown has made pre-indictment, post-indictment, and post-verdict, criticizing the justice system, implying she was being targeted for political or racial reasons, and suggesting the jury was tampered with.
“Just totally ludicrous and it makes no sense,” Duva says.
Smith asked Corrigan to understand that Brown grew up in a different time and under different circumstances, where racism exsited and it was never thought that an African American woman who did not come from an elite background could rise to Congress. He implored Corrigan not to sentence her based on those statements.
“Sometimes, as a 71-year-old black woman, she’s reminded of the scars she’s gained by fighting for all of us,” Smith says.
Smith also told the court he objects to much of the Pre-Sentence Report that was put together by Brown’s Probation Officer, because Brown still maintains her innocence and, as such, does not concur with the facts that are laid out. That objection was preserved for appeal.
Brown did address the judge herself, chiefly thanking family and supporters for their continued support and prayers.