By Opio Lumumba Sokoni
Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown spent part of her MLK Day of service at Shiloh Church Orange Park as an invited guest this past Monday at the MLK Day-N-Clay breakfast. Also, there were politicians seeking office, religious leaders and others. Many were there to be acknowledged as they run for office in Clay County. Shiloh’s Pastor Reverend William Randall and the event creators felt that the day was perfect for a visit from Brown who has served Florida and the country for decades.
This all comes at a time when Donald Trump is in the news for calling Haiti and African countries “shithole” nations. This was all part of an immigration meeting where majority white countries like Norway was consider ok for immigration. This was viewed as racist to those who have heard the assimilation argument that supports white countries over countries where the majority of the citizens are people of color.
The beloved Corrine Brown has been an outspoken critic of policies that are racist towards Haiti. Sometimes Brown was the only one visiting the country from the U.S. Congress. “I have visited Haiti too many times to mention,” said Corrine Brown to The Florida Star. All one has to do is Google “Corrine and Haiti” to get an idea just how much of a friend she has been.
People attending the breakfast were treated to brief remarks from Corrine before she introduced attorney Charles L. Truncale. He told the audience that he believed that Brown was innocent of all fraud charges and that an injustice is occurring. He is referring to lower court judge Corrigan removing a juror who professed God as a guide in his decision. That juror stated that Brown was innocent on all 18 counts. If he would have been allowed to stay on the jury, the jury would have been hung which would have prevented a conviction. But, the judge, just as judges have done in many cases before, tampered with the jury to fit the narrative and position of the prosecutors. One prosecutor in Corrine’s case was a former clerk of Judge Corrigan who regularly denied motions that would have benefitted Corrine Brown.
The former Congresswoman has secured a major appeals attorney, William Mallory Kent, to appeal her conviction. The appeal asks that her January 29th report date to federal prison be delayed while she goes through the appeals process.
Not all in attendance at the MLK Breakfast in Clay County was happy Brown was there. That did not matter to Pastor Randall who told media present that, “What has happened to her kind of echoes in MLK Day and what it’s about.” Rev. William Randall continued, “As pastors and ministers, we know that there was an injustice.”
Corrine Brown is asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow her to remain free on bond while she appeal her conviction. Prosecutors filed a motion on January 8 arguing in opposition to Brown’s motion. Brown’s attorney Kent says that the matter is a “substantial question,” and argues that the juror’s mental process is not an external influence that’s prohibited during deliberations. He states the following:
“To make a finding – which the District Court dressed up as a fact finding – that the Holy Spirt (sic) was an “outside source” was wrong in both law and theology. Wrong in law because as noted above, the external influences that the Supreme Court has barred from jury deliberations, finding them presumptively prejudicial to the defendant, are actual, real, physical phenomena of this material world – bribery or similar obstructive conduct or contact – and wrong as a matter of theology as well. Anyone familiar with the Bible would know that the Holy Spirit is an indwelling spirit, not an external force.”
Transcripts of the court hearings that led to the juror in question being dismissed was included in the motion along with biblical references in the footnotes. Many pastors in support of Brown believe that what the judge did is against everything we are taught as a God-believing people. The question may even be a major issue in jurisprudence and also a spiritual one worldwide if the Pope knew and weighed in on it.
“One thing is for sure, Brown can’t go anywhere without people running up to her with hugs, kisses, well wishes and prayers. One woman said that her church prays for Corrine Brown each Sunday. Some have been the victim of the criminal justice system or have loved ones who have gone broke fighting prosecutors and judges without the help of a zealous attorney on their side. In their eyes, Corrine represents them.”