Former Rep. Corrine Brown to appear in federal court on conspiracy, fraud charges

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former Rep. Corrine Brown appeared in federal court Thursday for a hearing to discuss charges she faces of conspiracy and fraud.

Brown's lawyers argued they needed more time to work on her case. A judge denied their request.

Brown's former chief of staff pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraud and theft charges.

Prosecutors said Simmons and Brown used a charity called One Door Education to solicit thousands of dollars' worth of donations.

Simmons admitted in court that more than $800,000 was raised in the charity, but only two scholarships were handed out that totaled $1,200.

Brown maintains that she's innocent.  She said in court Thursday that Simmons was like a son to her and was hurt by his plea.

"I don't do sign language, but what is the sign language to show that you got a broken heart? Because I have one," Brown said.

She is expected to go to trial at the end of April.

The WFTV digital staff contributed to this story.