9 Investigates

‘You only need to change a few votes’: Experts say presidential pardon for former-US Rep. Corrine Brown could help Trump in Florida

Some political analysts say pardoning incarcerated former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown should be a no-brainer for President Donald Trump if he wants to lock down votes on in the I-4 corridor.

Republican Orlando businessman John Crossman is pushing for the pardon, as part of his advocacy for alternative punishments for nonviolent criminals.

Brown, who served 12 terms in Congress, was convicted in 2017 on fraud charges. She’s been locked up at Coleman Federal Prison in Sumter County ever since.

READ: Presidential pardon for incarcerated former-Democratic US Rep. Corrine Brown? Orlando businessman thinks it’s possible

The former congresswoman took in donations for a fake charity and used the money for personal expenses.

State Republicans told Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones that they believe Florida is secure in this year’s election.

But Democrats said Thursday that one can’t discount how tight the election was two years ago, when the state almost elected its first black governor.

“You only need to change a few votes in a very, very close race,” said Democratic political analyst Dick Batchelor.

Jones asked black voters in Parramore if a pardon would sway the votes of those they know.

“You liked her or you disliked her, so the persuasion of that happening I think would definitely seal the deal for a lot of people,” said Orlando resident Linda Kong.

But Danny Quinzy, a local businessman, said he’s not so sure.

“His base is so grounded I don't think it would make a huge difference in the votes,” Quinzy said.

In Orange County alone, there are 800,000 registered voters. The majority are Democrats or people with no party affiliation, which leaves plenty of votes at stake.

Jones reached out to the White House on Thursday and tweeted the president but hasn’t heard back on whether this is something that will be considered.

Crossman said the motivation for his push for Brown’s pardon goes beyond politics.

“It’s not letting the guilty go free, that’s not what I’m saying,” Crossman said. “It’s taking a step to say, ‘How can we improve this?'”

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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