Corrine Brown Hands Out Ice Cream Before Hearing

Last pretrial proceeding before the start of her federal fraud trial

Former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown said she wasn’t trying to encourage people to contribute to her defense fund, “but I hope they will.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown said she wasn’t trying to encourage people to contribute to her defense fund, “but I hope they will.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted April 6, 2017 at 11:13am

Former Rep. Corrine Brown handed out fudge pops and ice cream sandwiches down the street from a Florida courthouse Wednesday, hours before the final pretrial hearing in the federal fraud case against her.

“I am just thanking people for their support, their prayers,” the Florida Democrat told First Coast News from an ice cream truck parked outside Jacksonville City Hall. “They’ve been there for me and I just wanted to come out and say thank you.”

She said she was not trying to encourage people to donate to her defense fund, but she “hoped” they would.

It was a characteristically defiant gesture for Brown, who has said she was targeted in the criminal investigation because she is “a black woman with a mouth.”

The former congresswoman could serve up to 357 years in prison if she is convicted of all the charges against her, which include conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and cheating on her taxes, First Coast News reported. Brown is accused of using money raised for a scholarship charity as a personal fund for herself, her chief of staff and the organization’s president.

Brown served 12 terms in the House, before losing a Democratic primary last year to Al Lawson in a redrawn district. Her former aide Ronnie Simmons pled guilty last month and could testify against her