By Opio Sokoni
On the morning of November 16 at 10 o’clock, Corrine Brown will be sentenced at the Federal Court Building (300 N. Hogan Street). Brown served with distinction in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1992 until 2017. There is expected to be heavy support in the courtroom for Brown. The former congresswoman was found guilty on 18 federal tax and fraud counts in a case that has raised many eyebrows. During the trial, the judge dismissed a juror who stated, with his belief in God, that Brown was innocent. In addition, Brown looks to be a victim of a scheme created by two people close to her. Those two people will also be sentenced.
Carla Wiley, the founder and president of the education charity at the center of the case, acknowledged that she took $140,000. She was dating Ronnie Simmons, a longtime aide to Corrine Brown. Simmons is reported to have stolen over $100,000. When found out, they both turned on Corrine Brown. Brown maintains her innocence and says she is guilty of trusting too much. Simmons and Wiley are asking for leniency earned for implicating Brown, which turned into a guilty conviction. Carla Wiley’s attorneys are seeking probation, community service and home detention. She will be sentenced one day before Brown.
Corrine Brown, who attended FAMU and the University of Florida, will no doubt present her public service record as a reason the judge should give her leniency. Brown is responsible for many children receiving scholarships and traveling abroad. Her work in the U.S. Congress allowed Floridians to receive back the lion share of their money sent to Washington, DC. Her work to ensure that victims of disasters receive funds right away is well known around the country.
Veterans tout Brown as having no equal when it comes to delivering on promises made to them. In addition, she has a long history of fighting to bring transportation dollars to the state. Corrine Brown’s actions as a fighting congresswoman made her the hero of the made-for-Lifetime TV movie, “Left to Die.” In the 2013 movie, she helped to secure the release of an American who was wrongly imprisoned in Ecuador on drug trafficking charges. It seems that a fair judge would consider the elderly Brown a better asset free and in the community versus in prison.
If sentenced to do time, she could be given a month before she has to report to prison processing. Since she has possibly several strong appeal issues, Corrine Brown has options. If granted a bond pending appeal, she could remain free for another year. If she wins on appeal and her case is overturned, she could be free pending the government’s option to, after that point, attempt to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could be years. Nevertheless, for now the question is who will support Corrine in this stressful hour – on Nov 16? You be there!