Less than a year ago, Corrine Brown and Ronnie Simmons were yoked at the hip, as Congresswoman and Chief of Staff.
Less than six months ago, both were off the federal payroll — yet yoked as co-defendants in the One Door for Education fraud case.
Much has changed since then.
Simmons struck a plea deal with the feds in February, pleading guilty on two counts, with his sentencing contingent on substantial cooperation with the feds.
As part of that cooperation, Simmons had to testify against his old boss — whose attorney, in an otherwise torpid defense, actually brought the fire in the cross-examination.
Now, as Simmons waits to find out his fate, Corrine Brown seeks to alter hers, with motions last week for a new trial and an acquittal.
The motion for a new trial was predicated on a claim that the juror who got bounced because he was compelled in decision-making by the Holy Spirit was removed erroneously. And the motion for acquittal was predicated on essentially re-litigating the trial, to again make the case that Brown was a dupe of her staffer and his girlfriend, and she was too old and enfeebled to do anything about it.
Simmons’ lawyer, Anthony Suarez, spoke with FloridaPolitics.com’s Terry Roen in Orlando Wednesday. He is skeptical of these motions.
“I’ve examined the motions and believe they’re not strong enough because they don’t cite a lot of case law,” said Suarez. “They’re not going to be successful.”
He also said he anticipated the defense attacking his client.
“I compare it to the Whac-A-Mole game,” said Suarez. “The prosecutor and Brown took turns whacking my client.”
Suarez, from the beginning of pre-trial proceedings, was frank in saying that he expected a plea deal for his client — a marked departure from Corrine Brown, who was adamant in taking the case to trial.
In the post-trial strategy discussions, there still seems to be a wide divergence between the pragmatic Suarez and Brown, whose defense seems predicated on a cult of personality that effectively expired when Brown lost her primary to Al Lawson in August 2016.