in Florida have told jurors a former congresswoman financed a lavish
lifestyle of Beverly Hills shopping trips and fancy parties on donations
to a charity ostensibly set up to help poor children with scholarships.
will continue for a second day Thursday in the trial of former U.S.
Rep. Corrine Brown, 70. She has pleaded not guilty to multiple fraud and
conspiracy charges. Prosecutors have laid out an expansive case in U.S.
District Court, charting years of payments they say were funneled from
the charity to her personal bank accounts.
“She knew exactly how
to lie to these donors, and knew exactly where the cash money was
going,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva in his opening
Lawyers presented two opposing portraits of
Brown to the federal jury in Jacksonville, part of a district the former
Democratic congresswoman had represented since 1993. One was of an
entitled, corrupt politician and the other that of a befuddled, aging
lawmaker whose trusted adviser betrayed her. Her attorney James Smith
said she was duped by her former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons.
prosecutors said Brown and her associates used a charity called One
Door for Education to bring in more than $800,000 between 2012 and 2016,
much of which they used for lavish trips, tickets to a Beyoncé concert,
shopping excursions in Beverly Hills and other personal expenses.
indictment says the Virginia-based One Door only gave out one
scholarship for $1,200 to an unidentified person in Florida.