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Former US Representative Corrine Brown of Florida found guilty of fraud

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Former U.S. Representative Corrine Brown of Florida was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of fraud for helping to raise $800,000 for a bogus charity and using the funds for concerts and golf, U.S. Justice Department officials said.

Brown, 70, was convicted on 18 counts of participating in a conspiracy involving a fraudulent education charity, concealing material facts required on financial disclosure forms and filing false tax returns, the Justice Department said in a statement.

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“Former Congresswoman Brown chose greed and personal gain over the sacred trust given to her by the community that she served for many years,” acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow said after a jury reached a verdict in Jacksonville.

Brown, a Democrat who served 24 years in Congress, lost her re-election bid last year after being indicted.

Her sentencing date has not been set. James Smith, her attorney, told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Jacksonville that he would seek a new trial.

“She maintains her innocence,” he said. “This is just part one of a very long process.”

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Prosecutors said Brown participated from 2012 to 2016 in a conspiracy and fraud scheme involving the One Door for Education fund, along with her chief-of-staff Elias “Ronnie” Simmons and the charity’s president, Carla Wiley.

The group solicited more than $800,000 in charitable donations that they said would be used to pay for college scholarships, computers for schools and other charitable causes, prosecutors said.

The money instead was spent by the three for their own personal use, including for a golf tournament honoring Brown and for luxury box seats at a Beyonce concert. The charity awarded only two scholarships totaling $1,200 to college students, according to trial evidence.

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Simmons and Wiley previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their involvement in the scheme.

Brown, known as a talkative politician who does not shy away from the media, stayed silent as she left the courthouse on Thursday.

Brown was elected to Congress in 1992 as one of the first three black members of Florida’s congressional delegation since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War.

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(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Lisa Shumaker)


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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