Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Challengers Take Swipes at Brown's Legal Problems; Indicted U.S. Representative Says: 'Let My Work Speak for Me'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Challengers Take Swipes at Brown's Legal Problems; Indicted U.S. Representative Says: 'Let My Work Speak for Me'

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and the Democrats trying to replace her in Congress traded barbs during a debate Thursday night at Jacksonville University where Brown's indictment cast a long shadow.

Brown, former state Sen. Al Lawson and health-care advocate LaShonda "L.J." Holloway competed to tout support for popular Democratic goals like improving, not repealing, the Affordable Health Care Act. They also jabbed one another, claiming rivals either weren't qualified or had served their own interest ahead of taxpayers.

Voters deserve "someone who will work for you and not for themselves," Lawson said after telling Brown she had been distracted by being "wined and dined" at extravagant events in Washington.

Brown said elsewhere that Lawson "was not a real supporter" of state employees during his 28 years in the Florida Legislature, and said she had heard that critique from a leader of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Lawson answered that AFSCME routinely supported him throughout his political career, and said that Brown "hasn't really had her mind on what's going on in Tallahassee." The response was an apparent reference to Brown's ongoing efforts to answer a 22-count indictment last month that accused her of mail and wire fraud, lying on tax returns and other crimes.

Holloway, who reminded the audience that Lawson is also a lobbyist, said she was the choice if voters wanted someone in Congress who was "un-bought."

Brown's indictment was discussed directly early in the debate, with Lawson telling Brown he was "embarrassed" by the charges against her.

Brown has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has reminded audiences she will have another side of the story to tell when she is eventually tried.

While acknowledging Brown was legally presumed innocent, Holloway noted that federal prosecutors have a conviction rate of more than 98 percent. …

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