JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- For the first time since her conviction on 18 of 22 counts in her federal fraud and corruption trial, former Congresswoman Corrine Brown spoke publicly Monday outside Jacksonville's Federal Courthouse.
"I thank the community for standing by me. I'm innocent." Brown said, flanked by her defense attorney James Smith.
Her impromptu press conference came just after a hearing when Judge Timothy Corrigan decided to release the transcripts of a closed hearing where a juror in the case was dismissed.
"Judge Corrigan is striving like he always does to be very fair and to balance a lot of competing interests, the right of people to have a fair trial, to have finality with their verdicts, but also transparency." Smith said.
"I think clearly you see that there is something that has gone on with the jury and as an officer of the court, I can't say I know what that is. Sometime when you feel you have fertile ground for a new trial, that can lift your spirits."
Brown herself said little about the case, deferring most specific questions to Smith. However, Brown did say after being initially shaken by the verdict, life is getting back to normal for now.
"Everything is normal, as normal as it can be. This last 15 months has been very difficult...I am looking forward, as my pastor says, to the next phase of my life. This is not the end." Brown said,
Brown says she just wanted to thank supporters - refuses to speak on anything else related to trial. Speaking through attorney.— Jacob Rodriguez (@jd_rodriguez9) May 15, 2017
Her former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons, a key witness for the government who testified against Brown, awaits sentencing for his guilty plea in exchange for testimony. Despite testifying against her, Smith says the former congresswoman has forgiven him.
Smith also says despite being office, Brown is still talking to and trying to help her former constituents. She says she's received and helped about 15 people since the trial ended.
"Now that she is no longer in Congress, I can tell you, she is still taking care of her constituents so the title has changed but the job hasn't." Smith said.