JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Corrine Brown will have to appeal her conviction and sentence from behind bars, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan denied a motion Wednesday from Brown's attorney, James Smith, requesting a bond pending appeal. Corrigan said Brown must start her prison sentence as scheduled.
"While it is customary for a first time, non-violent white collar offender such as Corrine Brown to be allowed to voluntarily surrender to the Bureau of Prisons following sentencing, it is not customary for such an offender to remain free pending appeal," Corrigan wrote. "In fact, the law presumes that a person who stands convicted and sentenced will begin service of her sentence unless she can meet certain criteria."
Brown will have to report to a federal prison facility by noon Jan. 29. She will receive a letter from the Bureau of Prisons telling her where to report.
Brown can appeal Corrigan's decision to the Eleventh Circuit, no later than Dec. 29.
Smith had argued that the issue of a juror's removal during deliberations was enough of a "significant question" that Brown should remain out on bond while the appeals process takes place. But prosecutors said Corrigan made the right call dismissing the juror, and Brown should serve her prison time while she appeals.
Corrigan ruled that the issue the defense raises in their appeal is not a "substantial question of law."
"It is in the interest of justice that she begin serving her sentence," Corrigan wrote.
The 71-year-old who served more than two decades in Congress was sentenced Dec. 4 to five years in prison in a federal corruption scandal focused on a bogus charity.
A jury convicted Brown in May of 18 fraud and tax-related charges for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors that was supposed to go to underprivileged children's education needs.
The charity, One Door for Education, raised $833,000 in a four-year span, but gave only $1,200 in scholarships.
The rest of the money went into the pockets of Brown and her co-conspirators: chief of staff Ronnie Simmons and charity founder Carla Wiley.
Simmons and Wiley pleaded guilty in the case and testified against Brown. Simmons was sentenced to 48 months and Wiley received 21 months for their roles in the scam.
All three must also serve three years of supervised release and pay $250 a month in restitution until they have paid back the money they stole from One Door.
That stolen money, according to court documents, paid for a lavish lifestyle that included nearly $14,000 for Beyonce tickets and $15,000 for a suite at a Jaguars-Redskins game.