July 18, 2016 – Politico
by Daniel Ducassi
Federal prosecutors asked a judge Monday to place tight restrictions on what lawyers for Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, can do with the discovery records they will receive in the congresswoman’s criminal fraud case.
Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to limit disclosure of the discovery material to people involved in the case, mainly lawyers, witnesses and experts. The proposed order by prosecutors would only allow the material to be used for trial and appeal purposes.
Prosecutors say the material contains information that includes Social Security and bank account numbers of the defendants as well as “dozens of third-parties, including many victim-donors of the charged conspiracy and fraud scheme, One Door for Education,” the charity at the center of the alleged fraud conspiracy.
They also say the discovery includes tax records, audio recordings, witness statements and grand jury testimony and personal email communications between Simmons and Carla Wiley, president of One Door for Education. She has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and has been cooperating with the feds.
Included in the motion filed Monday is a letter from William Sheppard’s law office, which is representing Brown. They take issue with just how far the proposed restrictions would go.
“We are extremely reluctant to enter into any agreement that would inhibit our client from demonstrating her own innocence in the public eye, particularly when the confidential of the grand jury proceedings was so blatantly ignored,” says Brown’s lawyers in the letter. They say that unless the order was “drastically” reduced in scope to only protect sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers, “we must oppose this order.”
The proposed order would also declare that anyone who receives any of the discovery material “submits… to the jurisdiction of this Court for all purposes, including sanctions or contempt for violation of this Order.” [READ MORE]