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This is the first in a series of regular updates I plan on writing in the months to come to friends, colleagues, supporters, and other interested parties.

It's no secret as to what I will be doing. As this update is being posted on the web, I will be in route to the federal penitentiary in Oakdale, Louisiana. A six-month sentence awaits me. One hundred and eighty-two days of confinement in a minimum-security facility.

Some readers might question why I am so open and public about what I will be doing in the days ahead. Most of you who have followed my battle against the federal government know it is not my style to shy away or stay low key about what happened to me. I have tried to be open and up front through this entire five-year ordeal, and I can think of no valid reason why I should "go underground." I take this approach for several reasons.

First of all, I have no reason to slip away from public view or to hide what has happened to me in any way. The system let me down, and I was wronged. I am the first person to ever be convicted in a federal court in this country that was charged with false statements, yet not allowed to confront my accuser or see the handwritten notes of my conversation. For the rest of my life, I will fight this injustice, and I will certainly not "hide my head in shame" for something that was done to me, not by me.

Secondly, it makes sense to give periodic reports to so many of you who have followed my career for so many years. When I return to my home and to my friends in six months, I will not have to spend lots of time explaining to person after person "how it was" at Oakdale. You will be reading about my experiences on a regular basis.

I will not be the first to write from prison…not by a long shot. I am inspired by the fact that some of the world's most important literature was drafted and often written while the author was behind bars.

Dostoevsky spent four years in a Siberian prison where he bitterly "roughed out" some of his most well known works, including Crime and Punishment, as well as his grand autobiographical work, The Idiot.

Sir Walter Raleigh wrote The History of the World, as well as many of his poems while in prison in the Tower of London in England. Plato transcribed Socrates' last words in prison, and Saint Paul, we are told, wrote some of the New Testament, the very word of God, while imprisoned.

Right now, I am reading Solzhenitsyn's first book, One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich. This book covers a period in Russian history in the 1950s when he was unjustly imprisoned. In our lifetime, Martin Luther King wrote his famous Letter From the Birmingham Jail. If you want to take it to the extreme, I have even read of Cuban poet Roberto Marteen Perez who served 28 years in a prison cell measuring four feet by four feet. He wrote poems to the love of his life in his own blood.

What I hope to share with my friends in the weeks to come is of minor consequence compared to these important writings. I just make the point, that far from stifling one's thought process, prison might even allow someone like me the opportunity to think about my life in an uncluttered way, and focus on the simple priorities that make it easier on any of us to make it through our day.

One thing that I will surely do is read a great deal. As I understand the rules of any federal prison, a prisoner cannot receive any hardback books through the mail from his home or from friends. Only paperbacks. By stroke of luck, the LSU Book Fair was held a few weeks ago. I bought 125 paperbacks. I took pleasure in picking out older books I read many years ago that I will now re-read, as well as some titles I always wanted to read but never got around to.

My list includes short stories by Hemingway, as well as Faulkner's first novel, Soldiers' Pay. I included James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (his more famous novel, Ulysses, was just too hard to get through back when I was in college). New Orleans author Richard Ford was a guest several times on my weekly television show. His novel Independence Day won the Pulitzer Prize, but I never got around to reading it. I will now. Former McNeese State professor Robert Olen Butler has also been a guest on my television show and he too won the Pulitzer Prize. I plan on rereading his wonderful group of short stories on Vietnam, A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain.

I bought a golf book by James Dodson that I plan to read called Final Rounds. It's a story about a father with only a few months to live and his final journey with his son. I just recently took up golf, and I regret not taking the opportunity to play with my father, an avid golfer, before he died. My son and I have played together regularly in the past year.

These are just some of the many titles that I picked up and should have time to read in the coming months. I have made arrangements for five paperbacks to be sent to me each week throughout my prison stay.

These regular reports will be posted on my website, located at www.jimbrownla.com. You will find on this site a great deal of information about my case, going back to the trial itself. Posted and available are various briefs that have been written during my appeal, including my request to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay out on bond. In addition, you will see the various newspaper articles that have appeared in most of the daily and weekly papers raising questions about my unfair conviction. There is a variety of information involving the Department of Insurance, and my various activities in public life. You will also be able to use the website to be added to my e-mail list, or to have your name deleted, if you so desire.

Charles Dickens begins his classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, by writing, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This certainly applies to me. The worst has happened through this unjust conviction, and the hardship it has caused on my family. Friends have told me that bad things often happen to decent people, but there is still bitterness over the unfair actions that took place in my case. But I still consider this "the best of times" because of the reaction my family and I have received from our community and people throughout our state and our country. Gladys and I have simply been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, understanding and concern from people wherever we go. We can't go to the movies, eat in a restaurant, or enter a supermarket without a number of people wishing us well and expressing their concern over how unfair my treatment has been.

So despite the injustice that I have suffered, I am approaching my stay in Oakdale with a positive attitude. My family and I have a lot to be thankful for. We have many wonderful memories of my more than thirty years in public life. I would like to think that we have touched and improved the quality of lives of many people here.

I don't diminish or take lightly the fact that I will be in prison for six months. But in the scheme of things, this is not a long period of time. Baseball season lasts longer than six months. I'll be home for the tail end of LSU basketball season, and will be able to see some New Orleans Hornets games in April and May of next year.

So, I plan on making the best of it, and returning in six months in good physical shape, having written extensively, and ready to get back to being involved with my family and community.

All of us in the Brown family send our thanks for all your interest, your concern, and your prayers. Stay attuned to my website. You will be hearing from me soon from Oakdale.

Jim Brown

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