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Corrine Brown asks appeals court for prison reprieve

Slated to report to prison Jan. 29, former Congresswoman Corrine Brown is asking a federal appeals court to allow her to remain free while she continues to fight her conviction on charges related to a charity scam.

Brown’s attorney, William Mallory Kent, filed a 37-page document Friday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that seeks to keep her out of prison while an appeal is pending. The request is based on what will be a key issue in the appeal: whether U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan improperly removed a juror who said during deliberations that the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty

Kent wrote that the issue could lead to the reversal of Brown’s conviction and, as a result, she should stay out of prison during the appeal.

“Neither the government (prosecutors) nor the district court (judge) cited a single case which has found that a juror’s personal prayer life before or during deliberations could be the basis of a finding of good cause to dismiss a juror,” Kent wrote. “The district court itself acknowledged that it was certainly permissible for the juror to pray to seek guidance or inspiration to try to come to a proper decision — and that is exactly what this juror had done. The juror did nothing improper and the juror’s internal mental belief that the Holy Spirit had offered him guidance in understanding the evidence and truthfulness of the witnesses — witnesses, all of whom, by the way, had taken an oath `so help me God’ to tell the truth — was not in any way a disqualifying mental process much less a disqualifying external influence.”

But Corrigan, who sentenced Brown to five years in prison, refused last month to allow her to remain free during the appeal and said she is required to report to prison by noon Jan. 29. Corrigan also rejected arguments that he improperly dismissed the juror.

“In essence, the court (judge) dismissed a juror who it found was unable to follow the law,” Corrigan wrote Dec. 20. “The court applied the governing legal standard to the facts, finding beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no substantial possibility that the juror was able to base his decision only on the evidence and the law as the court had instructed.”

Brown, a former 12-term Democratic congresswoman, was convicted in May on 18 felony counts related to her role in using contributions to the One Door for Education charity for personal expenses and events.

In sentencing Brown on Dec. 4, Corrigan issued a 25-page order that said the One Door for Education charity, which was originally established to help children, was “operated as a criminal enterprise” by Brown, her longtime chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, and the charity’s founder, Carla Wiley. Corrigan detailed how the charity raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, which forensic accountants said was siphoned off in cash withdrawals and used for such things as sky box seats at an NFL game and a luxury box at a Beyonce concert.

Corrigan removed the juror who made the “Holy Spirit” statement after another juror raised a concern to the judge. An alternate juror was substituted, and Brown was later found guilty.

Brown, 71, long an influential figure in Jacksonville, represented a congressional district that stretched from Jacksonville to Orlando. She lost a re-election bid in 2016 after the district’s boundaries had been substantially redrawn and as she faced the criminal charges.

Behold, the wreckage: A look at A.G. Gancarski’s 2017 predictions

Another year is mercifully almost in the books, and with that comes another chance for this writer to offer self-recrimination for yearly predictions that looked good in January.

Prediction 1 [TRUE]: The Duval Delegation will struggle to deliver.

On this one, I have to consider what the Mayor told me was the key priorities.

One of them was money for septic tank removal.

The city and JEA have committed to a five-year, $30 million shared process of removal of old septic tanks, with the idea of getting these properties onto city water and sewage.

The city wanted $15 million from the state; however, the Duval Delegation didn’t even carry the bill — which was instead carried by Rep. Travis Cummings of Clay County.

The measure died in committee.

So on that issue, the Delegation didn’t get it done.

Prediction 2 [TRUE]: Nothing for Hart Bridge offramp removal

The big ask last year: $50 million for removal of Hart Bridge offramps, with the idea of moving traffic onto surface streets by the Sports Complex.

Another called pitch strikeout.

No one even carried the bill. Delegation members told this reporter that they hadn’t been told about the project before it was introduced at a Duval Delegation meeting.

Delegation Chair Jay Fant said in March he would have been “happy to carry the bill,” but that the mayor’s office “backed off” because the concept “needed some validation” and wasn’t just a “request and get.”

The city is now pursuing a $25 million federal infrastructure grant, and wants $12.5 million from the state to help with that.

Thus far, crickets.

But long story short, the city didn’t get what it wanted there.

Prediction 3 [FALSE]: Collective bargaining with unions won’t wrap in time for 2018 budget

We were pessimistic that collective bargaining with unions, regarding pension reform, would take longer than it did.

We were wrong.

The unions traded pay raises for current members with the end of defined benefit plans for new members, who are all now into defined contribution plans.

This saved the city money in the short term.

As CFO Mike Weinstein said, the savings add up to “$1.4B less out of the general fund over the next 15 years,” and “without that revenue” from the half-cent sales tax, the city would have “difficulty matching revenue to expenses.”

The city was able to defer what is now a $3.2 billion obligation until 2030, when the Better Jacksonville Plan half-cent sales tax will be repurposed to dealing with what is now a pension plan playing out the string.

This allowed the city to have a bigger budget than in previous years, with more money for infrastructure spending.

In any event, we botched that one.

Prediction 4 [FALSE]: Human Rights Ordinance expansion won’t go through.

After five years of trying to find a way to add LGBT people to the city’s HRO, activists got their wish on Valentine’s Day; the expanded ordinance passed by a 12-6 margin in City Council.

The expansion added sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the list of protected categories under the ordinance, which ensures that people aren’t discriminated against in the workplace, the housing market, or public accommodations (restrooms, locker rooms, and so on).

Mayor Lenny Curry returned the bill to the city council without his signature; the bill is now law.

Instrumental in the push: Jaguars owner Shad Khan,

Khan, per some sources, read an article of this writer’s that suggested that Khan lean on Council for a yes vote.

Whether that’s true or apocryphal, who knows.

But a win’s a win.

Prediction 5 [TRUE]: The murder rate won’t abate.

Sad to be right about this one, but as the T-U’s homicide tracker says, the city is at 128 murders with two weeks to go this year.

Last year saw 118 homicides.

Curry and Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams probably won’t get real electoral challenges for re-election.

If they did, however, they would be vulnerable on this issue.

Prediction 6 [TRUE]: Alvin Brown continues to resurface.

This reporter has seen more of Alvin Brown this fall than he has his own mother … which means that he probably should visit home more often.

It also means that Brown is around; a fixture at everything from meetings of Duval Democrats to Corrine Brown hearings.

Brown, who is still mulling running against Al Lawson for Congress, is out there for a reason.

Prediction 7 [FALSE]: Local Dems vie to replace Al Lawson

While Brown is mulling, no one seems to be moving.

Audrey Gibson is in Democratic caucus leadership in the Florida Senate. Tony Hill is on Lawson’s payroll.

The expectations of a battle royale between Democrats, thus far, have been dashed.

Prediction #8 [FALSE]: There will be a homeless day resource center in Downtown Jacksonville

This was a priority of activists; this was not a priority of the Lenny Curry administration.

The contention: the day center had “mixed results.”

As is the case with other social-service legislation, such as the Jacksonville Journey, the mayor’s office wanted a data-driven approach. And the data showed that a day center serves a supplementary, not a primary purpose.

Prediction #9 [FALSE]: The city will reassume control of Hemming Park.

Jacksonville has found a rapprochement with a restructured Friends of Hemming Park group, meaning that this is not under direct city control.

Prediction #10 [FALSE]: Political scofflaws will skate on charges

This is false solely because Corrine Brown did get sentenced to five years in prison. At her age, that essentially is a life sentence.

All told, batted .400, with four correct and the rest junk.

Better luck next year!

Petition seeks to remove Corrine Brown name from Gainesville transit center

Change.Org petition seeks to remove the name of Corrine Brown from a regional transportation center in Gainesville.

Brown, who is headed to prison for five years after being convicted on 18 felony counts in a fraud case this year, once represented Gainesville — and pushed for the appropriation for the center named after her.

However, some Gainesville area residents find it incongruous to have a public building named after a convicted felon.

“In a time when monuments around our great nation are being systematically removed and history erased, so should the memory of a convicted criminals in our government,” reads the petition, which goes on to compare Brown to Florida Gators footballer-turned-murderer Aaron Hernandez.

The assertion: “Just as the University of Florida removed Aaron Hernandez’s name, statue, and plaque from it’s campus, war memorials have been removed and as such, so should we remove Ms Brown’s.”

“The excuse that she has done many good works cannot be justification. Hernandez played good football at UF… but it was not justified and was removed,” the copy continues.

“What else has Ms Brown gotten away with over the years that we are unaware of? It is safe to say once a criminal mind, there are probably others,” the petition asserts.

Primary challenger questions Al Lawson fealty to Congressional Black Caucus

Rontel Batie, a former Corrine Brown staffer who is now running to take back her seat in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, issued the first salvo of the 2018 Democratic primary campaign against the incumbent Thursday evening.

That incumbent — Rep. Al Lawson, a moderate Democrat from Tallahassee — does not align with the priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus, per Batie.

Batie noted that this week, the CBC assembled on the East Capitol steps to honor HBCUs.

Among the Florida CBC Democrats in that photo op: Reps. Val DemingsFrederica Wilson and Alcee Hastings.

“While the overwhelming majority of Members were present for the photo honoring the contributions of HBCUs, there appears to be someone missing … Congressman Al Lawson. Seeing as though Rep. Lawson graduated from, and represents one of the largest HBCUs in the country, Florida A&M University (FAMU), his absence from this show of unity remains a mystery,” Batie writes.

Batie sees a pattern in Lawson’s no-show: “this ‘photo-op’ is not the first time that Al Lawson has broken with the CBC and went his own route.”

“For instance, Al Lawson also broke with the CBC in his support for vouchers and charter schools, as well as his desire to meet with President (Donald) Trump personally after the CBC decided that they wouldn’t meet with the Trump Administration as a caucus,” Batie observes.

Batie, an alumnus of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (a group that proved to be the pretext for much of the fundraising that sees Brown headed to federal prison in the coming weeks), notes that he has “spent many years working with the CBC and its stakeholders.”

“I know firsthand the importance of standing in solidarity with those who champion the issues that best serve our communities. Unfortunately, Lawson hasn’t taken the time to learn how Washington works and thus hasn’t been able to deliver much to Florida’s 5th district,” Batie writes.

Batie, who was one of the few defense witnesses for Brown in the trial that saw her convicted on 18 counts this year, is clearly trying to stake out the inside lane with the CBC before former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown gets in the race early next year.

Lawson is said to be more comfortable working with Republicans — such as Neal Dunn and John Rutherford — than with CBC Democrats.

Lawson also benefited from the financial patronage of Jacksonville Republicans ahead of the Democratic primary.

Sources tell us that Corrine Brown was in Washington with Alvin Brown earlier this year, giving CBC members the stamp of approval, should Alvin Brown primary Lawson as expected.

Corrine Brown is held in high esteem with CBC members, so much so that many of them wrote on Brown’s behalf, calling for leniency in sentencing.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from South Florida, spoke of a friendship going back to 1969 with Brown.

“Corrine has already lost just about everything by being convicted,” Hastings wrote, asking for a “second chance” for his former Congressional colleague.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, noted that at “some point in every life we all wish we had a do-over,” before asking Corrigan to show Brown a “small portion of the kindness, love, and caring” she has shown others.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, noted Brown’s “deep connection to her constituents … service for the most vulnerable members” of her district.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, lauded Brown’s “tireless work ethic, impeccable fortitude, and laudable achievements” as a “change agent for good who has earned the love and adoration of those she has served.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wrote of Brown’s “long track record for standing for our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” citing her work after Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, called Brown a “practical legislator who always wanted to fight for those with real needs … a colleague, a friend, a spiritual person” with “much more to contribute to our great country and the world.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, another Texas Democrat, lauded Brown’s “unbridled compassion” and asked Corrigan to take into account the “anguish” she experienced, to “judge her by the sum of her life, and not just by the mistakes that she made.”

Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, acknowledged that “lines were crossed” by Brown; however, “there was no malice or forethought on her part.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, called Brown a “friend, confidant, and mentor” who “cares deeply for those who have not benefited from the American dream.”

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, noted that Brown is at the “twilight of her life and career” and — through community service — had an “opportunity to give back to her community and communities in need.”

Illinois Democrat Rep. Robin Kelly lauded Brown as a “mentor … a passionate advocate for her constituents.”

Florida Politics reached out to Lawson for comment Thursday evening; it will be added if received.

Lockdown ordered for Corrine Brown during appeal process

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was found guilty of 18 counts in the One Door for Education case. She faces a five-year prison stretch.

Brown is asserting she should be free during the appeal process; however, Judge Timothy Corrigan sees it differently, declaring: “The law presumes that a person who stands convicted and sentenced will begin service of her sentence unless she can meet certain criteria.”

“Ms. Brown has been accorded all the consideration she is due, she has not met the standard to remain on release pending appeal, and it is in the interest of justice that she begin serving her sentence. However,” Corrigan added, “Ms. Brown may seek release pending appeal from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court will set a report date that gives Ms. Brown time to do so.”

Brown has until Dec. 29 to file that motion. As it stands, she must report to prison by Jan. 29, 2018.

Brown was found guilty earlier this year, protestations of innocence notwithstanding, of a laundry list of charges. Among them: conspiracy to defraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud and fraudulent financial disclosures.

All of this tied to a nonperforming educational charity — One Door for Education — that was used as a slush fund by Brown and her co-conspirators for a period of years, with over $800,000 being funneled through the charity by the end.

20-year lien dropped on Corrine Brown

Longevity runs in Corrine Brown‘s family, and that seems to be part of the calculus of a federal lien against the congresswoman-turned-felon.

A lien notice totaling $664,292 was filed this weekend. There is good news, however; 20 years after the date of filing (December 2037), Brown is freed of the obligation.

Corrine Brown was found guilty of 18 counts in the One Door for Education case. She faces a five-year prison stretch.

Currently at issue: whether Brown should be free during the appeal process. The federal government discouraged that in a motion filed in recent days.

Brown had copious support, including from national and local Democratic politicians; however, she was unable to avoid a prison sentence.

Nor was she able to avoid a lien that will haunt her for years after her prison sentence would end.

Prominent Corrine Brown supporters fought for her before her sentencing

Corrine Brown had some of the most prominent people in the country writing on her behalf pre-sentencing, amidst dozens of letters of support asking for leniency.

As well, prominent locals — including a former Jacksonville mayor, a sitting city councilwoman, and a prominent state senator — likewise appealed for a light sentence for Brown.

The letters, just released by Judge Timothy Corrigan on Monday, speak to a legacy that went far beyond the One Door for Education case.

Many of Brown’s supporters were Congressional Black Caucus colleagues. All urged a leniency that didn’t come to pass.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from South Florida, spoke of a friendship going back to 1969 with Brown.

“Corrine has already lost just about everything by being convicted,” Hastings wrote, asking for a “second chance” for his former Congressional colleague.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, noted that at “some point in every life we all wish we had a do-over,” before asking Corrigan to show Brown a “small portion of the kindness, love, and caring” she has shown others.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, noted Brown’s “deep connection to her constituents … service for the most vulnerable members” of her district.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, lauded Brown’s “tireless work ethic, impeccable fortitude, and laudable achievements” as a “change agent for good who has earned the love and adoration of those she has served.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wrote of Brown’s “long track record for standing for our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” citing her work after Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, called Brown a “practical legislator who always wanted to fight for those with real needs … a colleague, a friend, a spiritual person” with “much more to contribute to our great country and the world.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, another Texas Democrat, lauded Brown’s “unbridled compassion” and asked Corrigan to take into account the “anguish” she experienced, to “judge her by the sum of her life, and not just by the mistakes that she made.”

Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, acknowledged that “lines were crossed” by Brown; however, “there was no malice or forethought on her part.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, called Brown a “friend, confidant, and mentor” who “cares deeply for those who have not benefited from the American dream.”

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, noted that Brown is at the “twilight of her life and career” and — through community service — had an “opportunity to give back to her community and communities in need.”

Illinois Democrat Rep. Robin Kelly lauded Brown as a “mentor … a passionate advocate for her constituents.”

Former Congressman Greg Laughlin, a Texas Republican, described Brown as “a friend … always honest and true to her word … worthy of a sentence of probation and community service.”

Former Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, a Michigan Democrat, likewise urged leniency, saying “the loss of her leadership would be catastrophic for her community.”

Former Rep. Karen Thurman, who served with Brown both in Tallahassee and Washington, lauded Brown’s “compassion and tenacity … decades of distinguished service.”

Former state Rep. Cynthia Moore Chestnut said Brown taught her “the true meaning of constituent service.”

State Sen. Audrey Gibson went farther.

“CB has stood up against injustice, fought for civil and voting rights, fought against injustice, helped fund housing developments…”

Gibson added that Brown was “genuinely interested in raising the collective voices of others and attending to their needs.”

Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown — who showed up for the sentencing hearing and proclamation — wrote about Corrine Brown being “hardworking and focused with laser-like commitment” to the “people of Jacksonville and her district.”

Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan lauded Brown as a political mentor, noting that Brown was the Godmother of her three children.

Brown’s own mother — 89 years old — may have written the most meaningful letter.

“She fusses at me when I don’t take my medicine and when I eat the wrong thing,” Mrs. Delia Covington wrote. “She makes sure I have my medicine and I have food in my house.”

Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, described that situation further, noting that her grandmother has “dementia and has to use a wheelchair,” and that Corrine Brown is her “primary caregiver.”

“My mother has endured a lot over these last 22 months. However, she continues to persevere,” Shantrel wrote.

“I need her. Our family needs her. Our community needs her,” Shantrel added.

In the end, it was all for naught.

Corrine Brown faces a five-year stretch in federal prison.

Feds want Corrine Brown locked up during appeal process

Federal prosecutors filed a motion Sunday opposing Corrine Brown‘s plea to be released on bond, pending appeal.

Brown, sentenced to five years in prison, is expected to report to the Bureau of Prisons in January.

Brown’s motion, per the feds, is “without merit and should be denied.” And while an appeal is pending, the feds believe she should be locked up.

Brown’s appeal is predicated on the removal of a juror who believed that “higher beings” said Brown wasn’t guilty; the Feds dismiss that as an immaterial objection.

Brown was found guilty earlier this year, her protestations of innocence notwithstanding, of a laundry list of 18 charges: among them, conspiracy to defraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud, and fraudulent financial disclosures.

All of this tied to a nonperforming educational charity — One Door for Education — that was used as a slush fund by Brown and her co-conspirators for a period of years, with over $800,000 being funneled through the charity by the end.

She has never admitted guilt, except for saying she trusted without “verifying,” in a November plea for “mercy and compassion.”

Corrine Brown lawyer: ‘This court does not have the last word’

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday, along with three years of supervised release, $62,650 to the IRS, $452,000 of additional restitution and $664,000 of forfeiture.

But she shouldn’t be fitted for an orange jumpsuit just yet, according to Brown’s attorney, James Smith,.

“This court does not have the last word concerning the Congresswoman’s fate,” Smith told reporters in front of the federal courthouse in Jacksonville just minutes after the sentencing.

“I don’t think that a sentence of imprisonment was warranted under the circumstances,” Smith added, noting his disagreement with the “idea that a 71-year-old woman should have to go to prison for a non-violent economic offense.”

Smith said that while Brown “maintains her innocence … she expressed remorse for trusting the wrong people.”

An appeal is pending; however, whether Smith represents her has “yet to be decided.” Smith did address rumors that Brown has not been paying him by saying that he has, in fact, been paid through this process.

“If she says she wants me to represent her in appeal,” Smith added, “I’d be more than honored to.”

“The resources [for] an appeal,” Smith continued, “she’ll get them one way or another.”

Brown may be able to be out on bond pending appeal, Smith said, noting that there are “good grounds” on what he considers to be “appealable issues.”

Though Smith didn’t discuss such issues, one issue that factored into the actual trial phase was a removal of a juror who believed, against the consensus of the rest of those empaneled, that Brown was innocent. That belief was rooted in direct communication with God. Once that juror was removed, deliberations went quickly.

Smith said this sentence was on the “heavy side” of public corruption sentences, because of the dollar amount and the tax issues.

“The sentence of imprisonment was imposed to send a signal,” Smith said, not for specific deterrence regarding Brown.

Some counts, Smith added, could be thrown out on appeal — as happened in the case of William Jefferson, a former Louisiana Congressman convicted for soliciting payments to push African business interests in the U.S., as NOLA.com reported.

“One of the options on appeal is that this entire process could be thrown out on appeal — both the conviction and the sentencing,” Smith said.

Corrine Brown sentenced to 5 years in prison, will appeal sentence

The slogan of purported educational charity One Door for Education was “we make your educational dreams a reality.” On Monday, Corrine Brown and her co-conspirators in the years-long scheme got an education of her own about reality.

That reality: a future of incarceration and reimbursement of those defrauded over the course of years on their behalf.

After a legal ordeal lasting the better part of two years, Corrine Brown and her two co-conspirators in the One Door for Education case — former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons and the former CEO of the charity, Carla Wiley — faced sentencing Monday morning in a Jacksonville courthouse.

The sentencing essentially gave voice to the jury’s verdict, with Judge Timothy Corrigan noting that Brown’s comments were “reprehensible” at times, such as when she said the Pulse massacre happened because the FBI was too busy investigating her.

Brown got a sentence that reflected a spirit of “general deterrence,” a sentence “in the mainstream” of public corruption cases in recent years. In other words, the judge did not go easy on her.

“A sentence of probation for a member of Congress convicted of 18 counts would not be sufficient,” Corrigan said.

Brown got 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $62,650 to the IRS, and $452,000 of additional restitution, and $664,000 of forfeiture.

Brown will appeal, though attorney James Smith has yet to determine if he will see that appeal through.

Simmons and Wiley, meanwhile, got lesser sentences.

Wiley got 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $452,515 in restitution is owed also, along with a $654,000 forfeiture judgment.

Simmons, meanwhile, got 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $452,000 of restitution and an additional $91,000 to the House of Representatives for pay for a phony employee of Brown’s staff. An additional $721,000 of forfeiture is due.

Brown, Simmons and Wiley have 14 days to appeal, and will be allowed to voluntarily surrender to the Bureau of Prisons no earlier than Jan. 8 2018.

____

Brown was found guilty earlier this year, her protestations of innocence notwithstanding, of a laundry list of 18 charges: among them, conspiracy to defraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud, and fraudulent financial disclosures.

She has never admitted guilt, except for saying she trusted without “verifying,” in a November plea for “mercy and compassion.”

Judge Timothy Corrigan spent the better part of three weeks evaluating the proper sentence for Brown, Simmons, and Wiley; he noted that he received “hundreds of letters” on Brown’s behalf before and after the November sentencing hearing, and lauded Brown’s defense for making “good arguments on Brown’s behalf.”

That said, Corrigan did not downplay the nature of the “shameless fraud” committed by the One Door 3, nor the gravity of “lining the pockets” of the co-conspirators with over $833,000 in misbegotten funds between 2012 and 2015.

$330,000 went to events held in Brown’s honor, Corrigan said, events that had “nothing to do” with One Door or charity for children. $93,000+ went to ATM withdrawals, and other monies were dispersed to Brown and her co-conspirators, Corrigan noted, for pleasure trips and incidental expenses.

“The public had a right to expect,” Judge Corrigan said, that Brown and Simmons would not “abuse their positions of public trust and responsibility … this was a crime borne of entitlement and greed … bad business.”

Corrigan also noted that none of the donors — millionaires and billionaires — were “ruined” by their donations, adding that many of them were effectively transactional and driven by “mixed motives.”

Brown was dinged for “abuse of position of trust,” which facilitated victims placing a “special trust” in the defendant.

“Brown traded on her status as a member of Congress to facilitate donations to One Door,” Corrigan said.

As well, “obstruction of justice” did not apply to Brown, per Corrigan’s calculation. Despite there being “incredible … untruthful testimony” that was “hedging, non-committal, off-topic,” that didn’t amount to perjury.

That was the sole bit of good news, as Corrigan said that “brazen doesn’t begin to describe” the scheme.

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