On May 18, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown put a charity fraud case behind her after pleading guilty to one of the charges she faced. The Florida congresswoman was convicted on 18 counts back in 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison. She served two years before being released out of concerns for her health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to order Brown to pay more than $62,000 to the IRS rather than ask her to serve any additional jail time.
Ms. Brown’s conviction in the 2017 trial was overturned after U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan removed a juror for saying that the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was innocent. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the action inappropriate and called for a new trial.
But Brown pleaded guilty to “interference with the due administration of the Internal Revenue Service laws,” which is a lesser charge than some of the others she was facing, including tax evasion and wire fraud. And she’s looking forward to leaving all of the litigation behind. “We just needed to put this behind us. It is,” Brown told reporters outside the Jacksonville courthouse. “I wanted to put it behind me and move forward.”
The 75-year-old represented the Jacksonville area in the House for nearly 25 years. She made history in 1992 as one of the “first three Black people elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction,” along with Reps. Alcee Hastings and Carrie Meek.
Although she was an outspoken civil rights activist, there was a dark cloud cast over her reputation, after prosecutors built a case against Brown and some of her top aides for using funds from the One Door for Education Foundation charity to pay for parties, vacations and shopping. Prosecutors said the foundation, which collected over $800,000 in donations between 2012 and 2016, only disbursed one scholarship for $1,200.