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Gus Bilirakis writes letter in support of Tampa Bay Jan. 6 protester

He’s the second local member of Congress to do so, following Anna Paulina Luna.
 
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, has written a letter on behalf of Jeremy Michael Brown, a Jan. 6 protester who is facing sentencing over illegally possessing weapons, grenades and a classified document.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, has written a letter on behalf of Jeremy Michael Brown, a Jan. 6 protester who is facing sentencing over illegally possessing weapons, grenades and a classified document. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published April 5, 2023|Updated April 6, 2023

Another Republican U.S. representative has written a letter asking a federal judge to consider a shorter sentence for Jeremy Michael Brown, a Tampa Bay-area man who protested at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a letter to Middle District of Florida Judge Susan Bucklew, Rep. Gus Bilirakis argued Brown, a former U.S. Army Special Forces master sergeant, should get less than the nine years he’s facing for illegally possessing weapons, grenades and a classified document.

“He has lived an exemplary life with no incidents of violence and no criminal history,” Bilirakis wrote in his letter.

Federal prosecutors say Brown was at the Capitol with the extremist Oath Keepers group. His defense team says Brown was working security at the Jan. 6 protest as a volunteer. Unlike many of those arrested in connection to Jan. 6, Brown’s felony charges were only indirectly related to his actions that day. His most serious legal troubles arose when federal agents investigating the riots searched his Hillsborough County property and found the illicit items. In December, he was convicted of six of 10 charges.

Bilirakis, whose district includes Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties, was the second local member of Congress to write in support of Brown. U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna wrote a similar letter March 24. Both have been submitted to the court in legal filings by Brown’s defense attorney.

Brown lives in neither Bilirakis’ nor Luna’s district. He’s represented by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat.

Federal prosecutors have argued in their own legal filings that Brown should not receive sentencing leniency.

“The Defendant’s course of conduct over the past decade ... shows a complete lack of respect for the law, and merits a substantial term of imprisonment,” prosecutors wrote in a March 24 filing.