Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Indicted Jacksonville Council Members Get Extra Time, Public Defender In Fraud Case

Ryan Benk
City councilman Reggie Brown outside Jacksonville's federal courthouse Thursday

Suspended city council members Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown were in court again Thursday a couple of weeks after a 38-count federal fraud indictment against them was unsealed.

The federal government alleges the pair created a scheme, using bogus companies, to draw down a federally backed business loan. Though they share a last name, the two are not related.

Reggie Brown will get a court-appointed lawyer, and Katrina will get more time to sort out her own legal representation.

At the status appearance Thursday, Katrina Brown asked the judge for two extra weeks to figure out if she’ll retain lawyer Curtis Fallgatter, or whether she’ll pick someone new. The judge agreed to split the difference — giving her a week to decide.

Reggie Brown claimed he’s broke, saying that since his city salary was suspended, he has to rely entirely on his Army Reservist pay. The judge agreed to give him a public defender.

Outside the courthouse, he told reporters he was confident he’d be in good hands while maintaining his innocence.

“We do not have an inferior justice system,” he said.

When asked whether he had some words for his constituents or what he thinks about the charges, Reggie Brown was succinct.

“Not guilty. Not guilty … I’m glad I have the support of the voters,” he said.

Brown should find out who is lawyer will be Monday. Both council members will be back in court next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Reggie Brown would not say if he will suspend his campaign for state Senate. He’s challenging incumbent Democrat Audrey Gibson in the August primary.

Both council members posted $50,000 bon, and neither can travel while awaiting trial. The pair faces up to more than 1,300 years in prison between them, if convicted.  

In addition to the time behind bars, Katrina Brown was ordered to pay $12.5 million in fines, while Reggie Brown is on the hook for more than $8 million. Katrina Brown will also have to retake her drug test, after it came back "diluted." Drug tests are routine during cases such as this.