H 66° L 45°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 66° L 45°
  • clear-night
    Clear. H 66° L 45°
  • clear-day
    Sunny. H 67° L 46°

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00


The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00


The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s push to stay out on bond is “without merit”, according to prosecutors

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s push to stay out on bond is “without merit”, according to prosecutors

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s push to stay out on bond is “without merit”, according to prosecutors
Photo Credit: Action News Jax
Now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown at the federal courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s push to stay out on bond is “without merit”, according to prosecutors

Former Northeast Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown wants to remain out of prison while she appeals her 18 fraud-related convictions and five year prison sentence, but now, prosecutors are making it clear they’re opposed to that.

During Brown’s sentencing pronouncement, the government did not object to her being allowed to voluntarily surrender on a date to be determined by the Bureau of Prisons, no sooner than early next month. Last week, Brown formally filed a notice she would appeal to the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals as well as a motion to remain on bond while that appeal moves forward. 

In a Sunday court filing, prosecutors call Brown’s motion for release on bond pending appeal “without merit” and ask the judge to deny that request. The government says the only issue raised by Brown is the dismissal of a juror during deliberations, and that issue in itself is not one that justifies her release pending appeal. 

FULL COVERAGE: Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown convicted, sentenced in fraud case

After jury deliberations were underway, a juror contacted court personnel to express concerns about another juror, number 13. Juror 13 ultimately confirmed in closed session questioning by the judge that he said at the outset of deliberations that the “Holy Spirit” had told him Brown was not guilty. While he appeared to still be taking part in deliberations, the judge ultimately determined that he was violating the court’s instruction to not make a determination on guilt or innocence until the jury had vetted all of the evidence and conducted deliberations. The judge narrowly worded the ruling, saying that while it’s permissible for jurors to pray for guidance, this juror saying he had received a specific determination of innocence crossed a line, because it meant that juror was not basing his decision solely on the evidence and law. 

An alternate juror was seated, and that panel convicted Brown on 18 charges, while acquitting her on four, about a day and a half later. 

The government’s response says a trial court is within its right to remove a juror who does not follow the court’s instructions, and this does not- therefore- present a “substantial” question of law, which is what the defense is calling it as grounds for Brown to be allowed to remain out of prison. The response says jurors were questioned during the selection process about whether they had any personal views that would prevent them from rendering a fair and impartial verdict, and none of those impaneled said they did. 

Brown has previously moved for a new trial and judgement of acquittal, in part because of the juror being removed from deliberations. Both of those motions were denied. 

Prosecutors are not disputing that Brown is not likely to flee and does not pose a danger to the community. They’re specifically disputing Brown’s claim that the juror dismissal issue raises “a substantial question of law or fact”, which is required under the law in order to allow for release pending appeal. The government says a “substantial question” is one that could likely be overturned at an appellate level. 

“It would be extraordinary for an appellate court to review trial transcripts and reverse the factual findings of this Court, which had the first-hand opportunity to question Juror No. 13, observe his demeanor, and assess his ability to discharge his duties,” the government’s filing says. 

Prosecutors say the Court was within its authority and used the proper legal standard in its decision to remove the juror. 

Through this process, Brown has maintained her innocence. Even during her sentencing hearing, she apologized to supporters for putting them through this and asked the judge for “compassion and mercy”, but maintained that her only fault was putting trust in the wrong people. The judge cited her lack of taking accountability as one of the factors he considered in sentencing Brown to five years. 

Brown, her former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, and the President of a sham charity called “One Door For Education” Carla Wiley, solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to One Door, but used the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. Wiley was the first to plead guilty and help the government build its case- ultimately leading to the indictments of Brown and Simmons. Simmons pleaded guilty ahead of trial, and both he and Wiley testified against Brown

Wiley was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison, and Simmons was sentenced to four years. Both were also allowed to voluntarily surrender at a date to be determined and have had travel restricted until then. The judge has agreed to Wiley’s request to recommend she serve her time in a facility near family in Virginia. Wiley, Simmons, and Brown had all hoped to avoid prison outright.

There is no indication in the court docket when the judge will rule on Brown’s motion.

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Police continue to investigate a series of deadly bombings in Austin after authorities said the suspect, identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, killed himself early Wednesday. >> READ MORE: Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber? | Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House| MORE
  • A Mill Creek, Washington, man is facing charges after a treehouse was found in the Snoqualmie National Forest with child pornography hanging on the walls inside. >> Watch the news report here KIRO-TV first reported on the discovery off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in February. The unauthorized treehouse was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, according to court documents. A DNR worker took a couple of the photographs off the wall to show law enforcement and called the King County Sheriff's Office. The DNR employee took a detective to the treehouse, which was described in court documents as 'an elaborate tree house that resembled a fairy or gingerbread house.' The treehouse was about 8 feet off the ground with a porch surrounding it. >> On KIRO7.com: Treehouse filled with child porn found near North Bend Investigators say that inside the treehouse they found photographs of naked young girls framed on the walls. There was also a bed, food, supplies, a book and an electronic keyboard. They found an envelope with more pornographic images. The King County Sheriff's Office handed the case over to the FBI to investigate. The FBI sent KIRO-TV new photos of the house on Monday. The FBI searched the cabin in April 2017 and collected items to test for fingerprints and DNA to find out who built the cabin. They took construction photos, smoking material, bedding, glasses, photos of girls, bags of batteries and glass from the photograph frames. They sent the items to the FBI laboratory in Quantico. Federal investigators said they also talked to a Search and Rescue volunteer who said he had seen an SUV near the cabin on multiple occasions, and he had the license plate information. Investigators tracked down the owner of the vehicle and watched him. >> Read more trending news  Investigators said they took a swab from the handle of his motorcycle and later got a paper drinking cup he discarded. Those items were also sent to the lab in Quantico. According to court documents, the items tested at Quantico positively identified the 56-year-old Mill Creek man. Court records show Daniel Wood, of Mill Creek, has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession. FBI agents searched Woods condominium in Mill Creek in February and collected his computers, Amazon Fire, SD cards, Polaroid tablet, VHS tapes and video recorder.
  • Family, friends and the Sacramento community are demanding answers in the death of an unarmed black man killed by police in his own backyard Sunday night, holding nothing but a cellphone in his hand. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told Fox40 that officers fired on Stephon Alonzo “Zoe” Clark a total of 20 times. Clark, 23, died at the scene, leaving behind two young sons.  Hahn was on hand Tuesday night at a City Council meeting, where several residents of the community protested the officer-involved shooting.  “To hell with Sac PD,” resident Rebecca Person said, according to the news station. “I’m sick of them always murdering black youth.” “What is the police’s job to do? To shoot people that are unarmed in their own backyard?” another resident, Robert Copeland, asked.  Fox40 reported that the Sacramento Police Department is under fire for its morphing story of what Clark was carrying.  “They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a toolbar, whatever that is,” Tanya Faison, a member of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told the news station. “Then they put out that he had a wrench and then they put out that he just had a cellphone.  “They need to get it together.” The two officers involved in the shooting are being criticized for waiting five minutes, until additional officers came to the scene, to handcuff Clark and begin rendering first aid. Department officials are also facing criticism for not promptly informing Clark’s family, including the grandparents and siblings he lived with, that he was the one gunned down in their yard.  Fox40 reported that Clark’s family called 911 for help after hearing gunshots right outside their window.  Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, told the Sacramento Bee that she was sitting in her dining room when she heard the shots. “The only thing that I heard was, ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and I got to the ground,” Thompson told the newspaper.  Thompson described crawling to where her 7-year-old granddaughter slept on a couch in an adjacent den, where she got the girl onto the floor. She then made her way to her husband, who uses a wheelchair, and he dialed 911.  Thompson said neither she nor her husband heard officers issue any commands prior to firing the fatal gunshots.  The grieving grandmother told the Bee that investigators interviewed her for hours about what she heard, but never told her it was her grandson who had been killed. She finally looked out a window and saw his body. “I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson said.  Hahn said he and his investigators initially had no idea Clark was related to the homeowners.  “We found out they were related because the family told us so,” the chief told Fox40. Hahn said in a news release Monday that officers were called to the family’s neighborhood around 9:15 p.m. Sunday on a report of a man breaking several car windows. The suspect was described as a thin man, just over 6 feet in height and wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The caller said the man was hiding in a backyard. Dispatchers sent officers to the scene, where the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department also had a helicopter searching for the suspect from the air, the news release said. About 12 minutes after the 911 call was made, the crew in the helicopter told officers on the ground they saw the alleged suspect in a backyard, where he picked up what looked like a toolbar and broke the sliding glass door of the home before running south toward the front of the house.  That house was next door to the Thompsons’ home. The officers on the ground, directed to his location by the helicopter crew, confronted Clark as he came up along the side of his grandparents’ home, the news release said. When they ordered him to show his hands, he fled to the backyard, officials said.  “Officers pursued the suspect and located him in the backyard of the residence,” the news release said. “The suspect turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him.” Believing the object was a gun, the officers opened fire, the news release said. Clark was struck multiple times, though the exact number of gunshot wounds was not immediately known. A follow-up news release issued later Monday stated that no weapon was found near Clark’s body. “After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms,” the news release stated. “The only item found near the suspect was a cellphone.” Homicide investigators and crime scene technicians said they found three vehicles with damage they believe Clark caused, as well as the shattered sliding glass door that the helicopter crew said they witnessed him break, the news release said.  The only items investigators found that could have been the toolbar described by the helicopter crew included a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that may have come from a gutter. Both were found near the broken sliding glass door, the Bee reported.  Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the newspaper said. One of the officers has eight years of law enforcement experience, half of it with the Sacramento department.  The other officer has six years total experience, two of those in Sacramento.  Sacramento city policy requires any body-camera footage of an officer-involved shooting to be made public within 30 days, the Bee reported.  Hahn said he plans to release the officers’ body camera footage, as well as footage from a camera aboard the helicopter, after it has been shared with Clark’s family, Fox40 reported. He anticipated having the footage released by week’s end.  The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the city attorney’s office and the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability are investigating the shooting, as is the department’s homicide and internal affairs units.  The Bee reported that Clark was at least the 17th person to die in confrontations with law enforcement in Sacramento County in the past two years. Besides the young father, three others were unarmed. 
  • A Middletown woman told police that because there was a warrant out for her arrest, she was afraid to report the death of her mother. Police were called Monday morning to a residence in the 3200 block of Goldman Avenue on a report of a dead body. There, police found an 88-year-old woman dead in her bedroom. MORE: What a West Chester man told the judge before being sentenced on child porn charges The woman’s daughter, who also lives in the house, told police she found her mother dead in her bed Thursday —four days earlier — but she didn’t contact police. The “only reason” she reported her mother’s death is because her daughter, who also lives in the home, asked about her grandmother and found her dead, according to the police report. >> Read more trending news  The woman had a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear on traffic charges through Middletown Municipal Court, the report said. MORE: Grand jury to consider murder charge against Butler County babysitter Police also contacted another daughter of the dead woman and she told them she hadn’t seen her mother since Thanksgiving. Another daughter told police she last saw her mother a couple of months ago, and she was planning to take her mother to see a doctor this week. The Butler County Coroner’s Office was contacted and took possession of the woman’s body.
  • Andy Savage resigned Tuesday as a pastor of Highpoint Church in Memphis weeks after he admitted that, as a youth pastor in Houston in 1998, he had a “sexual incident” with a high school student. >> Read more trending news Savage got a standing ovation from his congregants in January when he admitted to the encounter with Jules Woodson. He was a 22-year-old youth pastor at the time. Woodson was 17. >> Related: Pastor confesses to ‘sexual incident’ with Houston teen who calls his congregation’s response ‘disgusting’ In a statement released Tuesday, Savage said that since January, he’s “come to understand Jule’s vantage point better, and to appreciate the courage it took for her to speak up.” “When Jules cried out for justice, I carelessly turned the topic to my own story of moral change, as if getting my own life in order should help to make up for what she went through and continues to go through,” he said. He admitted that his relationship with Jules was “not only immoral, but meets the definition of abuse of power, since I was her youth pastor,” and said that he thought he had taken steps to make up for the situation when he resigned from his position and moved to Memphis. “Those steps seemed significant at the time,” he said. “Only through my recent time of reflection have I realized that more should have been done.” >> Related: Tennessee megachurch pastor accused of sexual assault Highpoint Church officials released the following statement after Savage’s resignation: Cantey Hanger’s independent investigation of Andy Savage’s ministry has been completed and the findings communicated to the elders and trustees of Highpoint Church by lead investigator Scott Fredricks. While the investigation found no other instances of abuse in Andy’s ministry, the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy’s resignation is appropriate, given the reasons stated in his resignation statement. Highpoint leadership has come to recognize that it was defensive rather than empathetic in its initial reaction to Ms. Jules Woodson’s communication concerning the abuse she experienced, and humbly commits to develop a deeper understanding of an appropriate, more compassionate response to victims of abuse. Highpoint Church remains committed to ensuring that it protects families and children involved in its ministries to the highest standard. Accordingly, as announced earlier, Highpoint Church has asked MinistrySafe to conduct an assessment of Highpoint’s current training, policies, screening practices, and supervision in ministries serving minors at Highpoint Church, then help us implement any needed enhancements. That work will begin soon. In the meantime, our child safety policies can be found online here. We urge anyone with suspicions of child abuse to make a report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services or local law enforcement.  Rare.us and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

The Latest News Videos