Politics

Brown’s Former Aide Testifies He Was Following Her Orders

‘I usually didn't tell her no’ former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons said

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, center, is escorted to the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., on Monday for the start of the second week of her trial on federal fraud and tax charges. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s former chief of staff testified he was following the congresswoman’s orders when he deposited money from a bogus charity into a slush fund.

Ronnie Simmons said he withdrew tens of thousands of dollars in $800 increments from the charity and deposited it into the fund, First Coast News reported.

When asked why he didn’t refuse to carry out Brown’s wishes if he knew it was wrong, Simmons replied, “I usually didn’t tell her no.”

Simmons agreed to plead guilty to two of 18 charges against him in exchange for testifying against his former boss. Brown is being tried for using the nonprofit One Door for Education as a personal slush fund.

Simmons’ former girlfriend Carla Wiley testified earlier that she initially started One Door for Education as a legitimate nonprofit before it began funneling money to Brown. Wiley admitted to helping herself to $140,000 from the organization.

Simmons himself has admitted to using money from the nonprofit to take a vacation in Miami with Wiley.

Brown’s attorney James Smith claimed Simmons was testifying because prosecutors threatened to prosecute his sister.

In addition, officials from three Jacksonville non-profits said they could not confirm charitable donations that Brown reported, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Prosecutors accuse Brown of falsifying charitable donations to get bigger tax breaks.

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