Corrine Brown Trial: Jury will resume deliberating Tuesday

CORRINE BROWN TRIAL: Closing arguments expected Monday
MORE: Brown says 'Boyfriends' may have given her money in unexplained deposits

5:01 p.m. update: The jury was dismissed for the day at 5:01 p.m. on Monday.

Jurors will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

2:29 p.m. update: "The case is in the jury's hands right now. We look forward to whenever they reach a decision," said Corrine Brown's attorney James Smith.

Smith said reaching the verdict could take the jury "some time."

"I've done cases where verdicts have come back in 45 minutes. I've done cases where verdicts have taken a few weeks. I mean, I would say, given the amount of information they have, it's going to take some time," Smith said.

Smith said "it's been an incredibly stressful three weeks" for Corrine Brown.

Corrine Brown's daughter Shantrel didn't have much to say to Action News Jax's Jenna Bourne about the trial.

Bourne: Do you want to say anything in your mother's defense? There's nothing you want the public to know about what happened with your mother?

Shantrel Brown: "I'm just going to go across the street."

Like her daughter, former Congresswoman Brown didn't have much to say either.

Bourne: Ms. Brown, what's going through your mind right now?

Corrine Brown: "I'm going to lunch."

Field anchoring from the federal courthouse in downtown Jacksonville, #Florida as jury deliberations are now underway...

Posted by Tenikka Hughes Action News Jax on Monday, May 8, 2017

1:13 p.m. update: The judge has handed the jury Brown's federal fraud case.

The case was sent to the jury at 1:13 p.m., and a verdict could come Monday.

Four alternates will have to stick around through jury deliberation in case a juror needs to be replaced for illness or any other reason.

Action News Jax has several journalists on verdict watch at the courthouse. Follow @JennaANjax and @TenikkaANjax on Twitter for the latest and watch CBS47 at 5 for a full report.

12 p.m. update: The defense has given closing arguments. The prosecution will have a rebuttal shortly.

Corrine Brown’s lawyer says that former Chef of Staff Ronnie Simmons lied to protect himself.”

“Is she delusional? No. She’s human,” the defense said. “If Ronnie said it was OK, she believed him.”

Simmons uses women close to him “to lie, cheat and steal.” The defense brought up Brown, Wiley and his sister, who was a “ghost employee” in Brown’s office.

“There’s nothing wrong or illegal about having nice parties or receptions,” the defense said.

“Does the government really believe that her ego is so big, and she’s such a narcissist, that she would steal so she can go to a hotel and eat?”

The jury looked on thoughtfully during the defense’s closing argument. There were no smiles among the jurors.

The defense showed a check from Brown’s personal account that Simmons testified he filled out.

“They had these blinders on. They knew who they wanted. If Ronnie Simmons is someone that you can’t trust, then you can’t trust the government’s case,” the defense said.

The defense also pointed out that emails saying “how to donate” were sent by Simmons.

Simmons asked for checks to be sent to his home.

“Why? Because [Simmons] had to hide it from her,” the defense said.

The defense called Brown “An old woman that they took advantage of. She never intended to cheat or defraud anyone. She was defrauded. She was the victim in this case.”

10 a.m. update: The first sentence of the prosecution's closing argument: "When Corrine Brown wanted something, she got it." Got used to being "in control of anything and anyone around her."

“When you work for Corrine Brown, ladies and gentlemen, you did not ask questions. Because when the congresswoman wanted something, there was only one answer: Yes, congresswoman.”

The prosecution called it an example of what happens when power goes unchecked. The prosecution said former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons had nothing to do with Brown’s taxes.

Brown and Simmons turned charity One Door for Education “into a fundraising powerhouse,” the prosecution said.

The prosecution said that donors “had a soft spot for education, and the defendant knew that. She fooled them. Don’t let her fool you.”

No one benefited more from One Door for Education than the defendant, the prosecution said. “This money was dirty and the defendant knew it,” the prosecution said.

Brown testified Friday that she sometimes had to “rob Peter to pay Paul.”

“And she’s right,” the prosecution said. “She robbed from Peter to pay herself. That’s who the defendant robbed from to pay herself: Those kids.”

Brown’s attorney objected when the prosecution said this, but the judge overruled it.

Brown remained stoic during the prosecution’s closing argument.

The prosecution closed with: “But that stops now, ladies and gentleman, you are in that position to tell that defendant what no one told her in all those years she was abusing the power of her office so she could benefit herself. You can say, ‘No, enough.’"

Update: 8:30 a.m.: The defense attorney (James Smith III) and the prosecutor giving the closing argument (Eric Olshan) are now in the courtroom. They're allowed in early Monday to set up for their closings.

The courtroom will open to the public at 8:30 a.m. and there will be a very brief hearing as a follow up to late Friday’s hearing.

Closing arguments are slated for 9 a.m.


U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s federal trial will soon end and the public will find out if a jury of her peers believes the Florida Democrat is guilty of her fraud-related charges.

Brown is accused of using a bogus charity as a personal slush fund.

Brown represented Florida in Congress from 1993 until she was voted out of office in 2016.