Former congresswoman blames corruption charges on racism

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Former Rep. Corrine Brown (D., Fla.) suggests she was the target of a racially-fueled federal corruption investigation levied against her that “ruined” her name, according to WESH News. 

Brown told WESH News reporters that she blames the federal corruption and conspiracy investigation for tarnishing her reputation.

“They have just taken my name and destroyed it. My name is all I have,” she said.

She plans to plead not guilty to charges for allegedly using One Door Education charity scholarship monies, which were to be awarded to students, as “a personal fund for Brown, her chief of staff, and the charity’s president,” says the report.

The Virginia-based charity accepted over $800,000 in donations over four years, but “only two checks totaling $1,200 went toward charitable purposes, the Justice Department said in its indictment,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Reportedly, the charity’s president took a plea deal, though Brown’s chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmon, decided to not only plead guilty and testify against Brown, much to her dismay.

“[Elias] was like my son for more than 20-something years, but a lady came up to me in church and said, ‘I saw you on TV,’ and said, ‘I wish I knew sign language for a broken heart.’ This is a broken heart because it’s very sad,” Brown said.

As far as the charges, she insists that they are due to “redistricting.”

“You changed my district completely. The next was this indictment. It’s just unbelievable how [the Justice Department] seem to make up the rules as they go,” she said. “And so I am looking forward to my day in court.”

When asked by a reporter why she was being charged, Brown replied, “I guess I’m a black woman with a mouth.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Brown has a history of blaming previous charges on racism.

When the 24 counts of fraud were initially brought down on her in July 2016, she created a fundraising website to fight the charges. On the site, a message dictates that the Obama administration’s Justice Department was targeting her because of her race.

In turn, she accused the Justice Department for condeming her freedom and encouraged her supporters to donate money to her in an effort to overcome this issue.

“During my entire political career, I have fought racism, injustice and advocated for individuals who normally get left behind,” the message reads. “It should come as no surprise that some took offense to my efforts to stand up for you.”

Brown concluded her message saying, “I am fighting the Department of Justice, which has unlimited resources. They have smeared my good name. They are trying to take my freedom. I am asking for your help to fight these false charges. On this website, you can make a donation to my legal defense fund. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated.”

Brown’s trial is scheduled to begin on April 24 in Jacksonville, Florida.

H/T: Washington Free Beacon, WESH

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