JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown left the federal courthouse, heartbroken, stunned, and facing a possible prison sentence Thursday after being found guilty of 18 counts against her.
"I was devastated and surprised," said State Sen. Audrey Gibson.
Gibson watched Brown on television leaving the courthouse and the stoic expression on her face. "Any individual regardless of position who believes their innocent would probably have the same look," she said.
Gibson has known Brown ever since she grew up in Gibson's parents' neighborhood, and Gibson has even worked with her on the campaign trail. "Working in her campaign over the years and other campaigns national and statewide," she said.
Brown became a very powerful lawmaker and her service to her constituents became the rung in her ladder to the top.
"People would always come to her with needs and so she would always try to find a way to fulfill those needs," Gibson said.
Because of her political strength, will the guilty verdict shake the public's trust in elected officials? "I certainly would not want the public at large to be so distrustful of every single person who is elected to public office," Gibson said.
Gibson is chair of the Duval Democratic Party and does not believe Brown's conviction will impact the party.
"It is important to show the real person," she said.
Gibson, who has a background in criminology, believes the pre-sentence investigation will reveal who Brown really is and help determine whether she goes to jail or not.
"I would certainly want the sentencing judge to consider all of the factors that lead to a fair sentence," Gibson said.