Over the weekend, federal prosecutors hit Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown with a 53 page, 24 count indictment that includes charges of fraud and theft. If convicted on all counts, Brown could face close to 360 years in prion.
Its a tragic and shocking turn of events for Brown, who enjoys deep support in her Jacksonville-based congressional district that includes part of Alachua county. On her blog, Brown equated her current legal predicament to police shootings of unarmed black men across America:
“Last week was very rough,” Brown wrote. “Two black men were needlessly gunned down by police; five Dallas police officers were slain by a demented man; and on Friday I had to appear in federal court.”
Brown was first elected to Congress in 1992, when Democrats controlled much of Florida’s political machinery. Since then, Republicans have become increasingly more influential in the state–but Brown has won every election since she first won office, and never by less than double digits.
A controversial and likewise influential figure in Florida politics since the early 1980s, Brown famously chose “Corinne Delivers”as her slogan, and she’s long been noted for her success at securing federal finding for a number of projects in her district.
Her ability to draw funding for district-wide and Florida-based projects is one of the reasons Brown enjoys a broad base of voter and business community support in her district.
But pending federal charges could end Brown’s tenure atop north Florida’s Democratic political pecking order. If convicted, Brown would not only face federal prison time but she could also lose the right to vote since Florida disenfranchises convicted felons. However, if Brown manages to avoid jail, its likely she could still be a power player in local politics, but probably on a more behind-the scenes level.
Corinne Brown has a September court date pending.