JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was either an entitled, corrupt politician who used a charity for poor kids to line her pockets or a befuddled, aging lawmaker whose trusted adviser betrayed her.
The competing portraits of the 70-year-old lawmaker were outlined Wednesday by federal prosecutors and the defense during opening statements in Brown's federal fraud and conspiracy trial in Jacksonville.
Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva said Brown and her staff systematically funneled money from the One Door For Education Foundation charity to the congresswoman's personal bank accounts. He says One Door raised more than $800,000 in donations and only gave out one $1,200 scholarship.
Brown has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her attorney James Smith says she was duped by her former chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons.
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