JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — (The video above is from a previous report)
A federal judge has denied former U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s request to refund the money she paid after her criminal conviction for fraud and tax evasion.
Brown, whose conviction was overturned last year on appeal, is being re-tried on charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and fraud stemming from what prosecutors say was a sham charity used as a personal slush fund.
Brown paid $43,363 in restitution and fines incurred as part of her sentence. She argued that money should be refunded pending her re-trial, and said she needed the money to hire an attorney. Prosecutors previously already agreed to refund a portion of that money -- $12,301, including money that has been collected but not yet paid in restitution to victims.
But prosecutors insisted she was not entitled to the rest of that money, which has already been paid out to victims, and U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan agreed.
In an order Tuesday, he wrote, “The Court found no authority requiring the return of restitution at this juncture. If Brown is acquitted at the retrial, she can renew the motion to return the restitution. At that point, the Court will determine whether efforts can and should be made to seek the return of restitution from the 31 private parties who have received it; doing so now is premature where Brown is set to be tried within months on charges for which, if convicted, she could again be ordered to pay restitution.”
Corrigan noted that although Brown sought the money to hire legal counsel, “the amount collected thus far would be insufficient to retain private counsel to handle a case of this complexity. Moreover, the Court has since appointed two well qualified lawyers to represent Brown.”
Brown’s re-trial, originally set for February, has been postponed, and no new trial date set. Her next court date is next Monday.