U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan sentenced ex-U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Monday to five years in federal prison for fraud and tax crimes that include raising about $800,000 for a sham charity, a remarkable defrocking of the once-powerful and garrulous Jacksonville Democrat who inspired devotion and vitriol in equal parts throughout her decades in public office.
Brown’s longtime chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, and the fake charity’s founder, One Door for Education President Carla Wiley, was sentenced to 21 months.
The trio fractured under the weight of the prolonged federal investigation and trial: Wiley and Simmons were once lovers, and Brown has said she loved Simmons like a son. In court, they were all on different sides.
Brown’s defense lawyer argued at trial the aging congresswoman was the unwitting victim of her charming and manipulative chief of staff.