It wasn’t VIP seats at a Beyonce concert, but former Congresswoman Corrine Brown received a birthday surprise from the judge in her federal fraud case on Sunday: he postponed her sentencing until Dec. 4th, giving the Duval Democrat a chance to prepare herself for the next phase of her legal case.
And, importantly, it allows her to not have to worry about sitting up in jail this week.
Brown is in a mess. She was convicted of 18 federal charges that included lying on a tax form. Media reports indicated she was facing up to 357 years in prison but details that came out this week suggest Ms. Brown’s case falls within a range of federal sentencing guidelines that call for a sentence between 7 to 9 years.
Ms. Brown, understandably, is hoping for no years. Her attorney is pressing for probation in the case that saw her closest aide and longtime friend, Ronnie Simmons, along with his reputed former side chick, Carla Wiley, roll over on her and testify against her at trial.
The feds accused the trio of siphoning money from a phony charity in orde4r to pocket the cash and spend lavishly on luxuries that allegedly included island vacations and even special-seating Beyonce concert tickets.
Ms. Brown will be allowed to call character witnesses prior to sentencing and after spending almost 35 years in public office, she has plenty.
Her attorney has said “dozens” of witnesses will be called, and they could include a list of prominent Jacksonville-area names including, potentially, former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover and former Mayor John Delaney, among many others.
The prospect of any jail time for Corrine Brown–a Jacksonville icon and institution who is famous for her “Corrine Delivers” slogan, and her peculiar wigs–is a shocking one. For years, Ms. Brown has been a staple in northern and central Florida communities, and represented a congressional district that included Jacksonville and Gainesville since 1993.
Brown is expected to be sentenced to much less than 7-9 years. She could also remain free on an appeal bond even if the judge sentences her to penitentiary time.
Federal appeals can sometimes take a year or more.
Corrine Brown turned 71 years old on Sunday.