Indicted Atlanta councilman says he will not step down

Councilman Antonio Brown announces the formation of a 70-member task force on the steps of Atlanta City Hall on July 02, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown, who was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on multiple counts of fraud, says he was not stepping down from his council seat.

Brown, 35, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that he plans to fight the charges and has no intention of resigning. On Twitter Thursday, Brown said he is placing his trust in God.

“The people that have walked alongside me know my heart, sense of integrity & relentless passion to fight for the least of these,” Brown wrote in the tweet. “God has been preparing me for such a time as this, I’ve overcome greater, my spirit is strong & I place my faith in God’s plan.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Brown allegedly lied about his income on applications to obtain loans and credit cards which he used for personal purchases -- including a Range Rover and Mercedes Benz C300.

Federal authorities also accused Brown of lying about being a victim of identity theft to defraud the financial institutions that gave him the money.

Brown is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and making false statements on a bank loan application.

The alleged crimes occurred years before Brown became a member of the City Council. He won a special runoff election in 2019 after the district three seat was vacated when long time Councilman Ivory Lee Young died of cancer.

“For years, Antonio Brown allegedly sought to defraud a number of banks and credit card companies by falsely claiming that he was the victim of identity theft,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak on Wednesday.

Although there have been former council members indicted after leaving office, Brown appears to be the first sitting councilman to be indicted since federal prosecutors charged D.L. “Buddy” Fowlkes with bribery and income tax evasion in 1993.

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