Chief-of-staff for indicted US Rep. wants separate trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The chief-of-staff for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown wants to be tried on fraud charges separately from his boss.

The Florida Times-Union reported ( ) Saturday that attorneys for Elias "Ronnie" Simmons filed a motion that said he may not get a fair trial if the request isn't granted.

Brown and Simmons were indicted earlier this year on a combined 24 charges, and each could face prison sentences exceeding 350 years if they were convicted on all counts.

Brown will soon be leaving office because she lost in the Democratic primary to former State Sen. Al Lawson.

Both Brown and Simmons had pleaded not guilty to charges and they're scheduled to be tried together April 26.

Anthony Suarez, the attorney for Simmons, contends in a court filing that Brown's "political persona" has created intense media interest and could cause unfair juror bias.

Information from the Florida Times-Union: