The trial of two former Jacksonville City Council Members is now underway, and the stakes could not be higher.
Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown, no relation, are facing dozens of years in prison if federal prosecutors convince a jury that the two former local lawmakers conspired to turn federal loan monies into personal slush funds.
Though not a crime, and deeply personal, news reports have indicated the two had a relationship that at times has been “intimate”.
The feds are charging that Katrina Brown, daughter of noted former nightclub owner and restaurateur Jerome Brown, obtained loans that she and Reggie Brown then converted for personal expenses.
The Browns are the latest well-known African-American Jacksonville politicians to be hauled into federal court on misusing funds charges; in 2018, the feds loaded former U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown onto a prison bus with a 5 year prison package after she was convicted of using monies earmarked for a charity that ended up reportedly being used for things such as Beyonce box seats.
Brown was a longtime Congresswoman who had represented the 3rd congressional district for over 20 years, but many in the community felt it was time for Brown to go after she was indicted; she lost her seat to Al Lawson a year before she ended up in prison.
Both Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown have staunchly maintained their innocence.
No one wants to sit in jail for years and Katrina Brown admitted to staying up late thanks to the case.
“I stay up all day and all night,” Katrina Brown said, according to the Florida Times-Union. “I only had 30 days to prepare, and it’s work.”
For his part, Reggie Brown is relieved the bulk of the federal case seems to be sitting on Katrina’s lap.
“I knew that on day one,” Reggie Brown said, according to the Times-Union.
The Browns’ trial is expected to last two weeks.