Suspended Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown wants a separate trial from his alleged co-conspirator, suspended Councilwoman Katrina Brown.
Both have pleaded not guilty to a combined 38 counts of fraud, money laundering and more. It’s the first big development in their federal case in months.
Action News Jax asked Reggie Brown’s public defender Thomas Bell if the new motion is the first step before potentially flipping on Katrina Brown.
Bell said he would not comment, other than saying, “Mr. Brown anticipates going to trial.”
On Thursday, Reggie Brown's attorney filed a motion to dismiss half the federal charges.
"These charges violate not only the rule against multiplicity but also potentially exposes Mr. Brown to multiple punishments for the same conduct in violation [of] the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution."
They’re accused of fraud and money laundering involving taxpayer-funded financial incentives for Katrina Brown's family barbecue sauce business.
Reggie Brown is separately charged with not filing a 2014 tax return and not disclosing his alleged fraudulent earnings to the IRS.
In the new motion, Reggie Brown’s attorney argued it would be difficult to present an individual defense if the two suspended council members are tried together.
“As to Reginald Brown, the United States appears to simply hope its widely cast net ensnares people like him who associated with Katrina Brown and who, perhaps naively, relied on her purported business acumen,” Reggie Brown’s latest motion says.
Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said it’s unlikely Reggie Brown will get a separate trial.
“In a case like this, it’s not likely that the trials would be separated. First, for judicial economy. They don’t want to have two trials because of the cost to the government,” said Carson.
Carson said it also would not be difficult to prove the two suspended council members were connected during the time of the alleged crimes.
The trial is scheduled for February.
Cox Media Group