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‘Anxious’ for ‘vindication’: Former Jacksonville councilman wants fraud case dismissed

Central to Reggie Brown’s motion is his right to a speedy trial, he says.

With roughly a month until he faces a slew of federal fraud and tax evasion charges, a former Jacksonville councilman wants his case dropped.

Reggie Brown, a Democrat who served on the City Council from 2010 until his 2018 suspension, asserts that numerous procedural delays violated his right to a speedy trial.

Earlier this year, the two defendants requested separate trials, saying their defenses could be “mutually antagonistic.” But that request was denied.

Central to Brown’s position: that co-defendant and alleged co-conspirator Katrina Brown‘s motions for delay compromised his defense.

“The Court grants Katrina Brown’s motion to continue the trial at the January 17, 2019 status conference … However, Mr. Brown, anxious to have his good name and reputation vindicated, objects to any further delay,” the defendant’s filing asserts.

After more delays, Mr. Brown contends that since April, a “total of more than seventy non-excludable days have elapsed since Mr. Brown first appeared in court. No other exceptions or events that would constitute excludable time under the Speedy Trial Act have occurred. The Indictment as to Mr. Brown should be dismissed.”

Mr. Brown was rebuffed in a previous motion to sever the trial, something his motion notes: “Mr. Brown submits in this case his right to a speedy trial, statutory and constitutional, outweighs the convenience of a joint trial.”

One suspects that this motion could be addressed Monday during a status conference.

A status conference is set for July 22. Jury selection follows on Aug. 15 and 16th, ahead of an Aug. 19 trial date.

The two Browns, who are unrelated, are accused of a 38-count conspiracy to defraud, say federal prosecutors. The pair is accused of extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal use from a Small Business Administration-backed loan provided for Katrina Brown’s family’s barbecue sauce plant.

The total list of charges: 13 counts of wire fraud, another 13 of mail fraud, five counts of money laundering, as well as charges of attempted bank fraud for Ms. Brown and failure to file a 1040 from Mr. Brown.

Two other motions from Mr. Brown are still pending.

One motion, a bill of particulars, seeks to find out ahead of trial who Mr. Brown is a co-conspirator with, per the government’s case.

Another in limine motion sought to exclude a vote he cast in 2010 benefiting the barbecue sauce company of Katrina Brown’s family, by securing economic development funds that led to fraud charges.

Prosecutors contended that was part of an arrangement between the two, and Mr. Brown says that’s not the case.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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