Kwame Brown, the former D.C. Council chair who pleaded guilty to bank fraud this year, indicated in a court filing (PDF) today that he is ready to accept responsibility for his crime. But, according to the filing, he doesn't think that should mean jail time.
Brown is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on November 13. The U.S. attorney's office, in a sentencing memorandum (PDF) also filed today, asked for a sentence that would include six days of incarceration, arguing that it would reflect the "seriousness" of the crime. Brown has asked that any jail time be suspended.
Bank fraud alone is a major crime, prosecutors wrote, but they noted that Brown's situation was compounded by his position at the time as an elected official and the fact that he committed the fraud to buy a "luxury item" – in this case, a boat. "Although there is never an excuse for committing bank fraud, doing so to purchase a recreational vehicle is shameless," they said.
Brown likely faces an uphill battle for leniency from Leon. Less than a month ago, Brown earned a stern rebuke for violating the terms of release by failing to call in to the Pretrial Services Agency three times. At an October 9 hearing, Leon told Brown that given his upcoming sentencing hearing, "this is not the way to position yourself most favorably."
But in today's memorandum, Brown's attorney, Frederick Cooke Jr. of Washington's Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, argued that prison wasn't necessary to deter Brown from committing crimes in the future. The public humiliation that Brown has suffered has already achieved that goal, Cooke wrote.
"The stigma of a federal felony conviction, resignation from elected office, and the highly publicized nature of Mr. Brown’s guilty plea constitute substantial punishment for Mr. Brown, as he has suffered public humiliation and intense media scrutiny as a result of his actions," Cooke argued. He asked that the sentence include two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service, but no fine, because Brown wouldn't be able to pay it and because his crime didn't result in any financial loss.
In addition to prison time, which would be served on weekends, the U.S. attorney's office asked for three years of supervised release. Prosecutors noted that six days was on the low end of the sentencing guideline, given that Brown could face up to six months incarceration under the terms of his plea agreement, but said it was appropriate because he had pleaded guilty early on and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement officials.
"The defendant has paid a heavy price for his crime, as he should. He once was one of the most powerful elected officials in the District of Columbia with strong popular support from the community and a bright political future," prosecutors wrote. "After sentencing, he will be a convicted felon with no political office and, according to the U.S. Probation Office, he will be unemployed."
Brown was charged with falsifying documents that overstated his income on loan applications. He is also scheduled for sentencing on November 13 in District of Columbia Superior Court for campaign finance law violations. He pleaded guilty to charges in both cases on June 8, days after resigning his council seat.