Former Rep. Corinne Brown released from prison early due to coronavirus concerns

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A former Democratic congresswoman -- who in 2018 had arrived to serve a five-year prison sentence for fraud in a “limousine-style minibus” -- has been released from federal lockup early over coronavirus concerns.

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, 73, had served two years when she left the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumterville, Fla., on Wednesday. Her original release date was scheduled for May 2, 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website. The agency did not provide further details.

Brown's spiritual adviser Bishop Kelvin Cobaris told the Orlando Sentinel that she called him following her release.

“After speaking with her, I sensed relief in her voice [and] in her heart, and her family was relieved to know that she would not die in prison,” he said.

Brown was convicted in 2017 for stealing money from a bogus charity claiming to give scholarships to poor children. Along with an aide, she used to donations to fund a lavish lifestyle the included concerts, trips and parties.

The charity brought in $800,000 from 2012 to 2016 but only gave out one scholarship for $1,200, according to court documents. A jury found her guilty on 18 of 22 criminal charges that included fraud and lying on her tax returns and congressional financial disclosures. She reported to prison in January 2018.

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Brown served 24 years in Congress, representing a district that included Jacksonville, Fla., before she was beaten in a 2016 primary. Her attorney asked a judge earlier this month to release her in light of the pandemic spreading in prisons nationwide.

Court records said Brown suffered from several underlying health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.