Prosecutors ask for 90 days to decide whether to appeal overturning of Rep. Corrine Brown’s federal fraud convictions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The United States has requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals halt its decision to overturn former U.S. Rep Corrine Brown’s federal fraud convictions and give her a new trial, while prosecutors decide whether to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.

In documents filed Tuesday, the U.S. requested 90 days so the Acting Solicitor General can make a decision.

On Thursday, May 6, Brown’s convictions were overturned. The U.S. Court of Appeals said in that filing, “We vacate Brown’s convictions and sentence and remand for a new trial.”

Brown went to trial in Jacksonville and was originally found guilty in May 2017 on 18 of 22 charges connected to the fraud, which involved soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars to a sham charity organization and using the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. She surrendered for her five-year prison sentence on January 29, 2018.

In April 2020, Brown and her attorneys filed an “Emergency Motion for Compassionate Release,” which stated that she has several ailments, including “hypertension, thyroid removed, diabetes, heart murmur, acid reflux, sleep apnea and cataracts.”

Also in April 2020, she was released from federal prison due to coronavirus concerns. Pastor Kelvin Cobaris, who accompanied Brown when she first surrendered at Federal Corrections Institution Coleman in January 2018, told Action News Jax at the time that Brown was on her way back home to Jacksonville to carry out the remainder of her sentence.

In September 2020, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an earlier decision by a three-judge panel, which upheld her federal fraud convictions, and agreed to rehear the case in full court.

Brown was released from home confinement in October 2020. Federal Magistrate Judge James Klindt ruled that Brown could travel outside the district but must remain in the Continental United States.

In December 2020, prosecutors asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold the federal fraud convictions of Brown.

At that time, Brown’s attorneys argued that it was wrong to dismiss a juror who said that the “Holy Spirit” told him that Brown was not guilty of all counts, and she appealed her convictions.

Her co-conspirator, Carla Wiley, was released from Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia on June 5, 2019.

Another co-conspirator, her former chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, surrendered January 8, 2018 for his four-year sentence at Federal Corrections Institution Cumberland’s minimum-security satellite camp in Maryland. He was released from custody on June 4, 2020.

On May 6, Action News Jax spoke to Brown’s spiritual advisor Bishop Kelvin Cobaris of Orlando by phone. Cobaris said he spoke to Brown after the news of her overturned conviction came down. Bishop Cobaris said, “She’s a woman of faith, so her first reaction was to God be the glory. And just, she really immediately just began to thank me for walking with her through this process, because this has been a tedious process for her. As you know, she’s an older woman, she’s gone through a number of different things through this and for her to get this news today she was just of course giving full adoration and praise to God as she always has.”

Brown also has the support of Republican businessman John Crossman. Crossman visited Brown in prison and last year pushed for then-President Trump to pardon Brown. By phone on May 6, Crossman said he hopes people will look at Brown’s case with a fresh set of eyes. Crossman said, “She’s already served a significant amount of time. She has done a lot of good -- she’s done a lot of good things before she went in and she did a lot good things while she was in and really trying to have a perspective of some positive things that can come out of this and not a rush to judgment. You know, there’s a lot of passion about this subject and I hope people can just maybe have a more reflective conversation about it.”