Upwards of 200 people wrote letters on behalf and against former Congresswoman Corrine Brown prior to her sentencing in a fraud trial earlier this month.
Although she was ordered to five years in prison, after being found guilty of tax, wire and mail fraud, many asked the judge in her case, Timothy Corrigan, for leniency.
Corrigan released the letters this week after WJCT News and some other media outlets filed briefs requesting the letters.
Those who wrote range from colleagues, to family members, to constituents, to her dental surgeon. Most letters were supportive of Brown, but a few were opposed to any leniency.
Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan submitted a handwritten letter saying Brown is her children’s godmother and guided Morgan through the city council election process.
“This woman is a great human being with so much more to give to her family, friends and this community,” Morgan said.
Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said in his letter, because of Brown’s commitment and work in the community, as well as her age, 71, she should not serve any jail time.
“I do not believe prison should be an option at all,” he wrote.
U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) wrote letters in support of Brown as did Sen. Audrey Gibson (D- Jacksonville). Gibson listed off accomplishments of Brown’s 24 years in Congress including fighting for voting rights, heading up job fairs and ensuring parents could pay for their kids’ college.
Others wrote of how Brown had helped them personally. Cheryl Murray wrote Brown was instrumental in getting her incarcerated son, with a severe kidney infection, medical attention.
“There is no question that if not for the efforts of Congresswoman Corrine Brown, my son would not be alive today,” she said.
Several people wrote about Brown’s dedication to veterans. Constituent Nettie Morgan who said she’s the widow of an army veteran, wrote Brown helped expedite the process for gaining access to some of her deceased husband’s benefits.
Many people submitted a three-sentence template support letter on behalf of Brown that read, “I’m a loyal friend and I believe in her innocence.”
Other friends and loved-ones submitted more personal letters. Brown’s daughter Shantel Brown submitted a three-page letter telling stories about her mother’s love and mentorship
“She was a single parent who handled both mom and dad duties. She was very involved with my friends and me, serving as a mentor and surrogate mother to many of them,” she wrote.
On the other end, Hope Perdue asked for Brown to get a stiff prison sentence, writing Brown having been a public servant doesn’t make her special or above the law.
“For as long as I can remember, Ms. Brown has been an embarrassment to this community,” Perdue wrote.
Another resident urged the judge to not show any mercy for Brown, saying she should go to jail, which is what the judged ruled.
Brown intends to appeal her five-year sentence. She has a January court date where she'll find out where she’ll serve her time should Corrigan reject her motion to stay out of jail while awaiting the appeal process.