A bribe is still a bribe even if you only take part of it: Jury convicts Turner

Turner allegedly taking bribe

WBUR reports a federal jury today convicted City Councilor Chuck Turner on four counts related to a wad of cash a disgruntled restaurant owner turned informant slipped him on Aug. 3, 2007.

The jury convicted him on one count of extortion for taking the money and three counts of perjury for lying about it. At his trial this week, Turner said he either couldn't remember taking the money or even meeting Ron Wilburn that day or that he engaged in a "preacher's handshake" in which he never looked to see just what it was Wilburn was handing him. His own lawyer argued that, maybe, Turner took some money, but tried to cast Wilburn - who testified for the prosecution only on threat of imprisonment - as a bigger slime, charging him with pocketing $800 of the $1,000 bribe money from the FBI.

Gintautus Dumcius at the Dorchester Reporter tweets Turner will be sentenced on Jan. 25.



Free tagging: 


Mike Ross: Meeting with city lawyer to figure out what to do

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City Council President Mike Ross issued a statement:

On a personal level, I am saddened for my colleague, who is a tireless worker for the residents of his district. This is an extremely serious matter. When I was elected Council President, we drafted long-overdue rules that govern the conduct of Councilors. These rules were approved unanimously by the body—including Councilor Turner. Our rules require us to take action if any member is convicted of a felony. I have reached out to Councilor Turner to inform him of how I am moving forward. I intend to call for a hearing within the next two weeks—to be held shortly thereafter—in order for the Council to take appropriate action.

The residents of District 7 are of paramount concern to myself and my colleagues and whatever occurs we will make sure that they continue to receive the high quality of constituent service they have come to expect from Councilor Turner’s office.

After his indictment in 2008, then City Council President Maureen Feeney stripped Turner of all his council committee chairmanships and pursued an effort to hire an outside lawyer to figure out if Turner could be forced off the council. One of Ross's first acts on becoming council president in 2009 was to call off that effort, in part because federal prosecutors declined to share any information from their investigation with the council. Ross did, however, keep Turner away from committee chairmanships.

I'm glad to see Mike Ross is

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I'm glad to see Mike Ross is treating the Turner situation with a calm and deliberate response. After Turner was charged by the feds he wanted to wait for due process to take its course. It would be nice if he would afford the same respect to the Boston Police officers he's been condemning in the media. Incredibly hypocritical.

I am so shocked he was

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I am so shocked he was convicted. Boy, you'd think that the government had him on video or something accepting a bri...wait a second!


Maybe that was the plan

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Who tells a jury his client isn't guilty because he only accepted part of a bribe - especially in a closing that wasn't preceded by any testimony to establish that?

Imagine if the feds took down

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Imagine if the feds took down every Boston politician who'd taken a bribe. We'd totally clean house.

The bummer is that, the voters are such anti-intellectual dumbshits and moochers looking for handouts that we'd fill back up with people just like the existing politicians.

Effin voters

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Always screwing things up for the rest of us! Bummer indeed.


He should call

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Marion Berry from DC. Hell, maybe Chuck can be our next mayor once he serves his time for the bribery charge.

This doesn't have to end his political career, it'll just put it on hold for a few months.

Nice. I guess DiMasi's trial

should be starting any day now. We'll see if the sophistication of his alleged bribe scheme, with "consulting practices", corporations, and mortgages in lieu of cash, (combined with the moral support of white-collar-crime apologist Harvey Silverglate) saves Sal from a similar fate.

If he becomes an ex-councilor ...

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Then the council will have to set dates for a preliminary and final election to replace him - as is happening now in West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, where John Tobin left.

This is different from an at-large seat, where the first runner-up in the previous election would become the councilor.

I agree with Turner....

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that the feds should not have just stopped with him and should have gone up the chain to some of the other big fish like Maureen Feeney, Mike Kineavy and others who were involved.

A good example of why cases like this are brought by the feds

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This is a good example of why the U.S. Attorney's Office is better suited to prosecute cases like this. I mean no disrespect to the DA or AG, but if Mr. Turner's case had been tried by state officials to a Suffolk County jury in state court, Mr. Turner and his caricature of a lawyer would be taking victory laps around the city right now. (Frankly, it might not have even mattered. The political pressure on the DA's or AG's offices to give Turner a break would have been so intense that the case might have never even made it to trial - the feds are, I shall say it nicely, insensitive to calls from state pols in cases like this.)

The verdict probably ended up where it should have. The sentence is going to be very interesting.