Jury Selection Set In Suspended Councilmembers’ Fraud Trial
Suspended Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown were back federal court Monday.
At the courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville, the duo’s defense raised concerns about whether the indicted councilmembers would get an impartial jury.
“Are we going to be able to pick a fair jury?” asked defense attorney Richard Landes, who requested a questionnaire to weed out bias. But Judge James Klindt said a questionnaire would be too much of a hassle.
The defense then asked about extending the jury selection process to three days “so the judge can be very thorough.”
“We’ll do everything we can do to get it done in two days, but if it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer,” said Klindt.
He set jury selection for August 15 and 16.
The Browns, who are unrelated, are facing a 38-count federal indictment, which includes fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors say the pair created a scheme, using bogus companies, to draw down hundreds of thousands of dollars in federally backed business loans for Katrina Brown’s family barbecue sauce business.
Then-Gov. Rick Scott removed the two from office last year.
Katrina Brown has maintained she’s confident about her upcoming trial. In April, she called into First Coast Connect With Melissa Ross and talked about how she plans to defend herself against the federal indictment. She reiterated her confidence on her way out of the courthouse Monday.
“I’ve got two great lawyers and I think they’re doing their job,” she said.
The trail of Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown is scheduled to begin Aug. 19.