She was just doing her job as a public servant.
Former Jacksonville area Congresswoman Corrine Brown took the stand Thursday afternoon, pleading for mercy from federal judge Timothy Corrigan.
“I am sorry you have to be here today to see me in this situation,” Brown said in her statement to the court. “I never imagined I would one day be in court asking people to speak on my behalf – never. In hindsight, I wished I had been more diligent in overseeing my personal and professional life The idea that some people could believe these charges hurt me because it runs contrary to everything I’ve ever believed and done in my life. I hope and pray these proceedings to don’t make them [ordinary people] lose faith in the system. I humbly ask for mercy and compassion.”
Brown was convicted on 18 counts of fraud and corruption in May.
The lead prosecutor in the sentencing hearing argued Thursday that the former congresswoman should be sentenced to about 7.5 to 9 years in federal prison. Her defense attorney is seeking probation and community service.
Prsecutor Tysen Duva told the court based on her actions during the investigation and in the trial, she should receive the most prison time out of the three co-conspirators.
Brown wore a magenta suit to the courthouse Thursday and briefly appeared in the overflow courtroom prior to the sentencing hearing.
Brown’s defense attorney James Smith objected to various aspects of the sentencing recommendations, including how much money Brown should be culpable for.
Prosecutor Duva asked the court, “What accountability does the law require?” during his presentation.
Duva said Brown was accustomed to receiving money she should not have received.
She also lied about donations to colleges, churches and other entities.
He also argued that Brown has made ludicrous comments during the investigation, including a comment where she essentially said that had investigators not been looking into her case, the Pulse shooting in Orlando would never have happened. She also referred to the charges as “bogus” and “racist,” implying that she was targeted for her race in the case.
Duva objected to that notion by saying, “She was targeted because she committed fraud, not because she was black or white.”
She attacked numerous agencies during the investigation, which Duva states shows her character as a person.
“Why do you support someone who says this nonsense?” Duva questioned the court Thursday, referring to the upcoming character witnesses set to speak.
Duva claims Brown “failed miserably” at being transparent during her time in office as a congresswoman.
“This is systemic and this is who she became,” said Duva, arguing the character witnesses cannot overshadow the conduct she performed in the criminal case.
“It’s not something that should be present in American democracy,” he said.
Duva said the judge has to make a difficult decision in this case.