JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A juror who believed that a higher being directed an innocent verdict for a former Florida congresswoman was removed from the case — but that won’t void the politician’s conviction in a corruption case, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S, Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that former Democratic U.S, Rep. Corinne Brown’s convictions should stand. She had appealed in part over the trial court’s decision to remove a juror who claimed divine communication directed an innocent verdict.
Brown, 73, was found guilty in May 2017 for fraudulently taking thousands of dollars from a bogus charity called One Door for Education, concealing income on financial filings, and filing false tax returns.
Brown is serving a five-year prison sentence. She represented a Jacksonville-based U.S. House district from 1993 to 2017.
The appeals court concluded that jurors must base their verdicts solely on the evidence provided in court and not on any outside influences, divine or not. Before he was dismissed, the juror told the presiding judge that “my father in heaven” and that the “Holy Spirit” were guiding his deliberations.