Jacksonville, FL - The federal fraud trial against Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been pushed back.
A Tuesday status conference laid out the basic framework for the trial, which is now slated for April 2017. Both sides had previously sought to push the trial until at least February- and now looked for an extension as deep as June. The trial was scheduled to start next month.
Brown and her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons are accused of collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to a charity called “One Door For Education”, but using the money for personal expenses instead. The group was never actually a charity, according to the federal government. The head of One Door, Carla Wiley, previously pled guilty to wire fraud and has been helping prosecutors build their case.
Based on the outline given by attorneys, the trial is expected to last several weeks. Part of the reason for the delay is that Brown and Simmons only secured attorneys in the last few weeks.
There was some discussion about recent lists of potential motions to be filed on either side, including the fact that Simmons’ attorney didn’t meet the deadline to file his. One notice from Brown’s attorney was a potential motion to sever her case from that of Simmons, and the other defense counsel seemed to support that.
Now, jury selection will start April 24, with the trial scheduled for April 26.
By that time, Brown will no longer be a sitting Congresswoman. She was recently defeated in her re-election bid at the primary level. While she says newly drawn district lines were the reason for the defeat, she said the federal case didn’t let her focus as much on her campaign.
Both Brown and Simmons pled not guilty to the charges facing them.