Jim Brown Steps Down As La. Commissioner

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By Michael Ha

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NU Online News Service, April 7, 10:17 a.m.EST?Jim Brown, Louisiana's suspended and imprisonedinsurance commissioner, has submitted a letter resigning from hispost after losing a final appeal of his conviction for lying to anFBI agent.

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In the letter addressed to Gov. Mike Foster and members of theLouisiana Legislature, Mr. Brown said that although he is stillconsidering other legal options, "it is becoming apparent that,even under the most favorable circumstances, I will not be able toreturn to my elected job before my term ends." Mr. Brown has beensuspended from the post since his conviction in October 2000.

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His resignation has been submitted and will become official verysoon, according to a spokesperson at the Louisiana insurancedepartment.

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Mr. Brown was accused of trying to set up a "sweetheartliquidation deal" for the failed Cascade Insurance Company in hisstate. He was acquitted of the actual crime, but was convicted oflying to an FBI agent about the case, according Amy Whittington,assistant commissioner, public affairs, for the Louisiana insurancedepartment.

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Mr. Brown, however, defended his innocence in his resignationletter. "As you are well aware, I have been fighting to overturn myunjust conviction and fully pursue my appeal through the federalcourt system for the past two and one half years," he stated."Unfortunately, the federal government has tied my hands and haskept me during this time from carrying on my duties as Louisianacommissioner of insurance."

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In a statement, he added that "the Supreme Court decision not togrant a re-hearing causes me the deepest personal disappointment."Mr. Brown's resignation letter and his statements can be found atwww.jimbrownla.com.

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When his resignation becomes official, acting insurancecommissioner Robert Wooley will be named the state insurancecommissioner, said Ms. Whittington. The current acting commissionertook over officially on Friday. "He's been running the departmentsince October of 2000," noted Ms. Whittington.

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This fall, Mr. Wooley will also be a candidate for a statewideelection for a full four-year term of the insurance commissioner'spost.

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Mr. Brown, who is 62, is a veteran of Louisiana politics.Earlier, he had served as a state senator and the secretary ofstate, and later campaigned unsuccessfully for the governorship in1987. He was first elected Louisiana's insurance commissioner in1991 and was re-elected to a second term before his conviction in2000.

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