JACKSONVILLE, Fla. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown took to her blog to address her supporters and detractors in response to a 24-count federal indictment.
Brown, 69, of Jacksonville, and her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, 50, were charged last week with participating in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, concealing material facts on required financial disclosure forms, theft of government property, obstruction of the due administration of internal revenue laws and filing false tax returns, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday in federal court.
Brown likened her situation to the recent police shooting deaths of two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota, and the deaths of five Dallas police officers during a protest march Thursday night.
“Last week was very rough,” Brown wrote. “Two black men were needlessly gunned down by police; five Dallas police officers were slain by a demented man; and on Friday I had to appear in federal court.”
Calling the indictment “very scary,” Brown said her “spirit remains unbroken.”
“My conscience is clear because I’m innocent,” she wrote. “I’m not the first black elected official to be persecuted, and, sad to say, I won’t be the last.”