Federal attorneys on Wednesday opened their case against a former congresswomen accused of funneling contributions from a charity she started for poor children into personal bank accounts and using the money to support her lavish lifestyle.
Corrine Brown, 70, the Democratic representative from Florida’s 5th congressional district from 2013 to 2017, faces multiple fraud and conspiracy charges for diverting contributions from the scholarship charity ‘One Door for Education’, to herself.
Prosecutors in Florida argued that, between 2012 and 2016, Brown and two associates raised upwards of $800,000 for the charity, much of which was transferred to their personal bank accounts and used for vacations, a Beverly Hills shopping spree, and tickets to a Beyonce concert, among other expenditures.
“She knew exactly how to lie to these donors, and knew exactly where the cash money was going,” Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva asserted in his opening statement.
Brown’s defense team rebutted the prosecution’s depiction of her as a manipulative, corrupt politician.
According to the Associated Press, defense counsel James Smith argued that his aging client was duped by her former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons.
The prosecution responded by citing Brown’s personal participation in One Door’s fundraising efforts. Local real estate developer John Picerne testified as the prosecution’s first witness and claimed that Brown spoke to him on the phone about a $10,000 donation.
Simmons and Carla Wiley, the former president of One Door, are expected to assist prosecutors in making their case against Brown. Both have already entered guilty pleas on charges related to the case and are scheduled to testify against the former congresswoman.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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