Brown Exhausts Appeals; Resigns as Louisiana Commissioner

April 1, 2003

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown, who’s been suspended since his conviction on charges of lying to an FBI agent, resigned from his office after the U.S. Supreme Court refused for a second time to review his conviction.

According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court made no comment on the case as it refused to consider it. A previous appeal to the high court ended with the same result on Jan. 27.

Acquitted in 2000 on 43 charges of mail, insurance and wire fraud, conspiracy and witness tampering, Brown was convicted of lying to the federal agent during an interview concerning the liquidation of Cascade Insurance Co.

Brown is serving a six-month term in federal prison. Stating that the judicial system has failed him, Brown said he will not stop proclaiming his innocence. He argues that his defense was hampered because he was prevented from seeing the FBI agent’s original notes of the interview. He was given a typed statement accurately reflecting those notes, according to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brown is scheduled to be released from prison on April 13.

The two previous Louisiana insurance commissioners were also sentenced to federal prison. Doug Green, Brown’s predecessor, is serving 25 years for accepting $2 million in illegal campaign contributions from the owners of an insurance company. Sherman Bernard pleaded guilty to taking bribes disguised as campaign contributions and served 30 months.

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