Corrine Brown‘s trial begins Monday, and the pre-trial drama continues.
Earlier this week, Brown’s daughter Shantrel Brown filed a motion to quash the state’s desire to have her testify.
Shantrel would plead the Fifth Amendment, the motion claimed, and the only purpose served would be the “atmospheric effect” of having jurors watch her plead the Fifth.
Unsurprisingly, prosecutors filed a motion in opposition Friday.
“The motion is premature and grounded on the legally infirm notion that a witness can be excused from even appearing at trial by prospectively refusing to answer each and every question that could be posed – without knowing what the questions will be,” claims the prosecution.
“Before excusing Ms. Brown from testifying, the Court cannot rely on her motion’s empty invocation of the Fifth Amendment, but instead must review each specific area that the United States (or conceivably the defendant) may wish to explore to determine whether the claimed privilege is well-founded,” the feds’ motion continues.
“There are a variety of topics about which Shantrel Brown could be questioned at trial. Candidly, certain areas of inquiry may tend to incriminate her, but other areas of inquiry would not. There is evidence that Shantrel Brown planned and attended parties in the defendant’s honor (as well as other events). Those events were paid for with money raised by the defendant, ostensibly for educational and charitable purposes, through the entity known as for One Door for Education,” the feds maintain.
“She is also privy to information about the defendant because – separate from any involvement with One Door – she has lived with the defendant and has known her for her entire life. She naturally would be familiar with the defendant’s habits, practices, and often her whereabouts – information that would not implicate Shantrel Brown in wrongdoing, but that might be relevant to the case,” the motion continues.
The prosecutors claim they don’t know what they will ask Shantrel Brown, given that she is toward the end of the list of witnesses, and given the shifting nature of Corrine Brown’s defense.
“the defendant has publically blamed others for the alleged fraud, at first taking aim at One Door’s president and government cooperator, Carla Wiley, but then turning her fire on her former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons after he pleaded guilty and also began cooperating. There is reason to believe that blame will be shifted next to Shantrel Brown. The shifting nature of the defense’s position complicates the United States’ ability to determine prospectively the precise role that Shantrel Brown will play at trial,” the motion asserts.