It's now ex-Councilor Turner
The City Council voted today to expel District 7 Councilor and convicted felon Chuck Turner, effective Dec. 3. Only Councilor Charles Yancey voted against expulsion.
Two of Turner's past supporters, Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley, joined nine other councilors in voting to eject Turner. Both had tears in their eyes as they explained their votes. Both of them praised Turner for his tireless work, both said they loved him - but both said the federal conviction left them no choice. Pressley said she was heartsick and was "deeply troubled" by the way the feds went after Turner; Arroyo, who once worked for Turner, said everybody has made mistakes and regretted the vote was a black-and-white issue rather than something that could be seen in shades of gray.
Turner himself maintained his innocence and said only councilors who really felt they were morally more able than him to serve should vote for expulsion - the first time the council has ever considered ejecting a member.
Turner alternated between race and class in an explanation of why the feds came after him. At one point, he said then US Attorney Michael Sullivan went after him and convicted ex-Sen. Dianne Wilkerson because blacks were raising themselves too much for the comfort of the Republicans in Washington. At another point, he said Sullivan came after him because he spoke truth to power on behalf of the working class.
Turner compared his plight to that of the Irish generations ago. He yelled that James Michael Curley would be ashamed of Sullivan, whom he said had clearly forgotten the real enemy of both the Irish and blacks is the Yankee upper class.
After the vote, at a brief rally/support circle on the steps of City Hall, Turner went further, accusing the five Irish city councilors who voted against him of forgetting their heritage and vowing that he would make them remember it in the next city-council elections, in 2011. Turner did not address the six non-Irish councilors (three Italians, a Latino, a black and a Jew) who also voted against him.
Yancey repeatedly raised objections to the vote, calling it illegal because it occurred the same day councilors received formal notice of the hearing and because the city charter does not specifically give the council the power to "expel" a member. City Council President Michael Ross and city lawyer William Sinnott, however, said Yancey was wrong on both counts, in part because of a council rule - passed after Turner's indictment two years ago and with his consent - that lets the council decide whether a member is fit to serve.
Other councilors did not rise to explain their votes.
After the vote and after meeting with supporters, Turner walked away, alone, toward the steps leading to Congress Street.
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The BCC . . .
. . . kneecapped itself and all local government in this state today. That's what it looks like to me anyway.
I dont have to pretend to
I dont have to pretend to support chuckie charly charles or whoever hes got nothing on me.
Were I a Boston City Councilor (I'd quickly down a bottle of Drano during one of those god-awful meetings with those pin-heads), I have no idea how I would have voted. Turner got screwed. He's probably the most honest one on the Council and I agree with a good portion of his politics (porn showboating and his more egregious race-baiting aside), but he did get caught doing what they all do (albeit with less tact than the others I guess).
I'm really hoping he gets probation (oh dear, the jokes that could be made there...) so that he'll be out in the street as a living wikileaks on whatever dirt he may have on City Hall. Good luck Chuck!
I don't know . . .
. . . if Ayanna Pressley were at the meetings, I think I would find time to attend.
Is mighty progressive of you.
You must be the guy at parties who manages to turn everything into a political thing huh? People like you creep me out.
You have to admit, Chris
You have to admit, Chris Dowd, that you have been acting as the "morality police" around here as of late, so your sexist comment creeps ME out. The cognitive dissonance and sickness swirling around that head of yours has finally come to light.
Not morality police
Decency. Its decency police. You might want to look up the difference. And I wonder if you go around calling men "sexist" who make off handed comments about the beauty of women to their faces. Do you like your cats?
I guess he chucked him self up. beliveing he was going to age gracefully like a fine irish whisky. you walked of alone with thoes burnt bridges smoking behind. and everyone saying chuck you and get the chuck out of here.
Charles Dance? I love his
Charles Dance? I love his work! Wait, you mean Charles Yancey, do you not? On another note, I am quite tired of Mr. Turner's swelled head, race-baiting and moaning. Yes, Chuck - the Feds and the Bush administration want to silence you because you're a dangerous threat to the halls of power and a champion of the working man with your phony torture photos! I bet J. Edgar Hoover was in on it too! Yes, Chuck's supporters - the eyes of the WORLD are on Boston! Let's see - CNN, New York Times, Le Figaro, The Guardian - gee, nothing about a Chuck Turner there. But, a black man is being railroaded in Boston, so the world KNOWS there must be racism afoot! Where do these guys get such high opinions of themselves? Come down off the cross, Chuck and pay the two dollars.
Oy, yes, Yancey
After the hearing, I figured I'd go over to Quincy Market, get something to eat and write my post/process photos, etc. Only their WiFi wasn't on, so I tried to post something with my smartphone with the dumb auto-spell, which insisted on changing "Yancey" to "Dance."
Boy, that would have been
Boy, that would have been something though, if a Shakespearean-trained British actor rose to the tearful and eloquent defense of Mr. Turner, bane of the Yankee ruling class that insists on keeping the African and Irish American working class at each other's throats!
Yeah those damn Yankees
Yeah those damn Yankees forced Chuck Turner to take a bribe and be a corrupt scumbag. The only person responsible for Chuck Turner's conviction is HIMSELF. This guy and his enablers are a DISGRACE.
Even Earl Warren??
Alvy: He drove past the book depository and the police said conclusively that it was an exit wound.
Alvy: How is it possible for Oswald to have fired from two angles at once?
Alvy: He was not marksman enough to hit a moving target at that range, but if there was a second assassin!...
Allison: Okay, Alright, so whatta ya saying now, that everybody on the Warren Commission is in on this conspiracy, right?
Alvy: Well, why not?
Allison: Yeah, Earl Warren?!
Alvy: Hey ... honey, I don't know Earl Warren.
Allison: Lyndon Johnson?
Alvy: Lyndon Johnson is a politician; You know the ethics those guys have. It’s like - a notch below child molester.
Allison: Then everyone is in on the conspiracy?
Annie: The FBI, the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover, and the oil companies, and the Pentagon and the men’s room attendant at the White House?
Alvy: I'd leave out the men's room attendant.
Annie: You’re using this conspiracy theory as an excuse to avoid having sex with me!
Max, are we driving through
Max, are we driving through plutonium?
An old wise guy once told me..
"Even if they catch you red handed, deny, deny, deny". Chuck has probably watched too many episodes of "The Wire" and suffers from a severe case of Clay Davis. This begs me to ask one question; he got bagged one time for taking a thousand dollars, how many other times did he take money and get away with it?
I hope he rots in the can.
-why, why, why do politicians do this? Why would you work so hard for so long and then take money from a guy who apparently took 1,000 from the government to set you up, spent 800 of it and then only gave you 200 dollars of it?!
Regardless of all this 'framed' talk. He took the money. Did he not? He was convicted, so we have to assume he did. And that's why he's leaving. Sad.....
Yeah well . . .
. . . its a great thing the FBI did here- using paid informants to troll money by our elected reps to test if they are human. Wonderful service indeed. We'll get the reps we deserve now alright.
Bribing elected officials
The frustrating part of all this is that what it appears Chuck did, and obviously what he was convicted of doing, is something so stereotypically old school, it's downright hokey. I mean a handshake with money in the palm..? Why not just lift some dialogues from an old Dead-End Kids flick?
(Besides with the going rate these days you'd have to have Andre the Giant sized hands to slip enough money to anyone!)
But he may serve time for it (we'll see). As far as "all the other times" he's been doing it, unless Chuck has a thing for Charlie, I don't see where all that money went. His crappy car? His simple house? Was he heading down to Foxwoods with Wilkerson? (why did he feel the need to defend her?? -- yeah yeah, I know the answer...)
What he should have been doing was getting his bribes in no interest loans, nonexistent mortgages on properties on the Cape, public benefits and community building events that end up with his name plastered all over them, or jobs for his family in the Probation Department (that'd come in handy right about...now), as all the rest of them do. When/if they get caught...they look shocked and outraged that they could be accused of such a thing (or convicted of it), but they wisely say "on the advice of my legal counsel I'm not able to make any comment right now...or ever in the future." (Are you taking notes Chuck?)
And then they get a radio gig. Hell, Eliot Spitzer even got a CNN show! Chuck should be able to finagle a BNN cooking show or something.
Like I said, Chuck is not necessarily hitting on all cylinders for me, but I respect a lot of what he has stood for and it sucks that in the sea of putrid corruption and cynical horseshit that is our City, State and Federal government (but mostly the State), the feds decided they were going to spend $30,000 to get this guy for taking $1,000. Is the US Attorney General's office being run by a pack of little old Sicilian ladies in black giving people the malocchio and hissing "vendetta!" Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
Dipaola . . . whose next? The greedy bastards who run the world at the Pine Street Inn? It's comical.
As I said on Twitter: Yo, Turner. I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Kanye had one of the best "Bush hates black people" of all time! ALL TIME!
Chuck is dumb
In the pantheon of dumb politicians, Chuck Turner will go down as one of the dumbest in history.
You notice how no one is talking about Dianne Wilkerson anymore? It's because she accepted her corruption and massive mistakes and moved on. All Chuck is doing is pissing off the people he's going to need a job from after a couple of months (or years) of jail.
Chuck is an Idealist
And you and I may not share his ideals, but personally I think going down fighting is far more respectable (and paradoxically at the same time humiliating) than just shutting up, playing along and looking for that next gig. That is cynical beyond belief (unless you're talking Massachusetts politics, then it's par for the course).
I'm always going to think that Chuck is vain, overblown and needs shirts with shorter sleeves (his cuffs are always like down to his knuckles...and would you cut your fingernails!), but I have far more respect for him than, say, Tom Finneran. If he wasn't so harmless I might not feel this way, but in the end the windmills he's tilting at grind on and the valid injustices he rambles about semi-coherently exist and worsen daily, in my opinion.
The people who trail him around town like a pack of screaming tweens after the Fab Four need to take up his example (at least some of his example) and go out and work for the change he's talking about and not pin their future/dreams on one fallible guy.
Chuck was never an idealist.
Chuck was never an idealist. The theater was always to mask the fact that he was only doing things which benefited himself. If the guy thought absolutely nothing of taking a small bribe it's painfully obvious he has been doing worse for years without repercussions and never though anyone would touch him. He bought his own bullshit cult of personality and thought he was above the law. It was overdue for the law to catch up with him.
Tend to be sufficiently civic-minded as to understand why they need to shovel their damn sidewalks.
Turner has always been much more a performance artist than an idealist.
Learning when to fight
No, he's just like my brother. He doesn't learn when to fight and when to concede. Remember the sidewalk shoveling scandal? Instead of sucking it up and admitting that he should have been shoveling his sidewalk and he'll do better in the future, he fought. He started making racist-tinged excuses about how people in his neighborhood "don't use sidewalks" because it's a "cultural practice" for them to walk in the street. He said he'd refuse to shovel still.
Miraculously, the next time it snowed, his sidewalk was shoveled.
He has a huge ego and it gets in his way. He's loath to admit that he's ever wrong. When cornered with the truth of his mistakes, he blames the system, the "man", the situation, your ignorance of his "culture", racism, conspiracies against his greatness, and anything else he can toss in front of his followers that carries enough plausibility for them to get over the cognitive dissonance of getting a glimpse of their naked emperor.
I'm sure the way he is helps him be that excellent defender of the downtrodden that got him this far. However, it completely impairs/impaired his ability to be a good defender of the general public's trust. Up until pocketing that extra $1000, it was minor conflicts like shoveling his sidewalk. But he broke a much bigger line by not handing that money back to the club owner who gave it to him. And when confronted with his fault, he chose to lie about it to the FBI...true to form with every other example we've seen where he's been shown the error of his ways and he refused to make amends. Good riddance...and yet we're all poorer for it.
It's a shame. The one thing he could have done that would have truly helped the downtrodden here would have been if he'd only gotten over himself.
You hit it on the head. You have to ask after decades "in the fight" if things haven't really improved for the people you are fighting for, maybe you're going about things wrong. Or you're not really fighting for them the majority of the time (whether you admit it to yourself or not). I just don't see Chuck lining his pockets or dolling out lucrative contracts to people who fill his coffers (which as far as coffers go are pretty pitiful), which makes this situation sad, but not unexpected and maybe in the end all for the best. I'd just feel better resigning myself to that if there was SOMEbody who was taking up the fight legitimately. In the words of my grandfather.."they're all a bunch of shysters!"
I wish . .
. . . Chuck Turner had framed his defense in more universal rhetoric- had emphasized the universal danger that these sorts of investigatory tactics represent- and had refrained from his more district centric rhetoric that seems to so antagonize so many people.
What do you not get
The investigative tactics are necessary because people take bribes.
Turner took a bribe. Nobody made him pocket that envelope. Nowhere does he say "sorry, but that won't be necessary".
Bribe. Not a tip for services - bribe.
While the power of a city councilor is pretty limited, the fact that the neighborhoods of his constituents haven't improved while he was their advocates is evidence that he wan't effective. Anyone who brings up matters not related to the governance and operations of the city of Boston at a council meeting should be promptly shut down. Every time I hear about some councilor bringing up the Iraq war or some nonsense as a matter of council business, I remember how deluded some of these people are about what their role is in government and what's important.
And a thanks to Adam for the blow-by-blow tweets - was fun to get updates as they happened...
Turner was absolutely right, he says
Chris Faraone writes:
And co-starring Charles Yancey as Don Quixote
Mike Ball files a dispatch on the hearing:
I don't know about you...
I can only speak for myself, but I personally do not want my elected officials breaking the law. For me, it's as simple as that. He broke the law, plain and simple. There are consequences to be paid for that, and when you hold elected office this is (and should be) one of them.
I don't think anyone . . .
. . . wants reps who break the law. But do we want paid informants from opaque institutions utterly beyond our purview and control- trolling bribes past our reps to see if they are weak? For what purpose? Whose agenda? To me- that's the only question here and I could care less about Chuck Turner's politics and view of the world. I'm sure it makes sense to him and a whole lot of people who voted for him. That I disagree with most of his world view is neither here nor there. But this sort of tactic is so odious on so many levels- I can't imagine the horrid culture of secrecy and paranoia that our reps will now have to labor under after this.
Why don't you want to know who is socially weak when you put these people into positions of social leadership? Who cares how you go about knowing it? Who cares what other agendas it serves? Who cares how fair it was so long as he wasn't unfairly entrapped?
Your offense is with the fact that another authority setup the bribe (whether you believe it was to intentionally take down Turner or just part of a bigger probe is happenstance). Would you conversely be okay with Turner's acceptance of the bribe if it had come about wholly organically from a club owner who wanted a license but put up his own $1000 instead of being prompted by someone else?
If your answer is no to the latter, then what difference is made as to WHY the bribe was being induced? If your answer is yes, then I think we find where you fundamentally disagree with most of society and why you're at such a point of consternation (which has nothing to do with WHY the bribe was made). Either way, your argument lacks a fundamental logic.
You care that the Feds setup Turner because, in your opinion, there was an agenda being carried out and that they did it through a well-paid informant (oh, police work...so "odious"!). But neither of those aspects of this case directly relate to whether Turner accepted a bribe (he did) or whether he then chose to lie about it to the investigators (he did, he did...and he did). Yet, all FOUR of those CRIMES relate directly to whether he can be trusted to govern in a position of trust by the society he helps lead.
What secrecy and paranoia? Paranoid that the guy who just tried to bribe them is going to turn over evidence of the bribe to investigators? Well, damn right! They shouldn't be TAKING BRIBES in the first place! They'll live under the same secrecy and paranoia of a speeder who hopes the next hill doesn't uncover a radar trap...and that's to be expected when you make choices outside of the law.
Well, We disagree then.
If you can't see the danger of paid informants from opaque institutions trolling bribes past our most locally elected reps- where our votes actually count the most and have the most impact on our lives- then I can't help you. We disagree and leave it that.
I think I'm a pretty normal guy who understands that politicians are human and I don't think its ok for some outside entity to willy nilly go around using paid informants to troll bribes past them. What right do they have? To do that to US? Look at this mess. Look at everyone screaming at each other. You happy? Huh? Make all happy this happened? What that prove huh? That Chuck Turner - with two nickels his name- is fallable- is weak? Bravo!
Hard to agree
It's hard to agree with your argument when you aren't able to actually articulate the danger you decry. Who would you rather test the trust of our oh-so-local politicians when it's suggested they are corrupt by their compatriots under investigation? One reason the Feds are required here is they're not paid for by the city nor state (don't conveniently forget that they started with Wilkerson who was a STATE rep...who then sent them to Turner). Or would you rather nobody test the ones that are suggested to be corrupt?
What is the danger of paying an informant if the result of their actions has nothing to do with the payment they received? Did the fact that the informant was given $30,000 for his cooperation some how entice Turner to accept the $1000 bribe? You haven't connected why the payment of the informant is dangerous nor matters here to the crime committed by Turner.
I also disagree with your assessment that they are "opaque". This isn't a warrantless wiretap and Turner wasn't tried in a hidden tribunal. The FBI works for us, in our name, and their evidence was fully laid out before a jury of Turner's peers who found it condemning. The opacity was between them and Turner, not them and you...and how would you propose they catch a criminal act, such as accepting a bribe, in progress otherwise?
And, by the by, who's screaming? Turner's supporters, it seems. But I'm not. I'm just tired of you, and others of similar opinion about Turner's culpability in this situation, blaming the system and blaming anyone but Turner (and Wilkerson) for how this came to light. You're willing to give Turner's actions a pass as a "moment of weakness" and "human fallibility". He succumbed to greed, right? And that's excusable enough for you in this case to let him keep his position of public trust.
But there, actually, does lie a definable danger. How can we now trust that when we weren't privy to Turner's actions through an informant and cameras, he wasn't making decisions based on the largest bribes? Because he said so? He also showed to be a liar when asked about his actions by the investigators...three times...so how can we accept his word that he only ever did this once? Blind faith...when we have detailed evidence to the contrary? There is a danger in that if we don't follow through on the cases we know about, it will encourage the cases we don't and that is no way to allow people to lead our society.
Ok- I'm gonna try another way.
Here is the harm that has been done to us by this sort of tactic.
What are Chuck Turner's constituents supposed to think about this huh? What are they supposed to think about why their guy- a guy not living the high life- was hit by this sort of tactic? Why was he targeted? What would you tell them- right now- if you were sitting in barbershop in his district?
I don't live there but I suspect that his entire district is DEEPLY suspicious now. Wondering just what Chuck Turner had done to be the target of this. What do you suppose is going through their brains right now about this whole thing?
I am about as far removed from Chuck Turner's world as can be and I wonder why the guy was the object of this sort of thing. It breeds suspicion- it breeds conspiracy mongering- it breeds divisiveness. And for what?
I don't know- maybe it is just me. Maybe you are right. Maybe it would be good to have paid informants testing politicains all the time from some organization that we know really nothing about and is answerable to us in only the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Maybe you are right.
And let me . . .
. . . also make clear that I have no reason to suspect the FBI agents or even the prosecutor of bad faith here- but I can see how others could. The FBI is an institution like all institutions- it has done good and bad. Who doesn't cheer on the FBI agents in movies like "Mississippi Burning"? Who can't but marvel at the FBI's fantastic (and I imagine often very stressful and depressing) work in the area of serial killers? Or when they broke up truly criminal conspiracies like the KKK? So I'm not up on any anti FBI soapbox. Those guys live here too and are part of us- but they also answer to a higher authority that is far removed from us on the local level and I think we should keep that in mind- and that higher authority may not always be operating with an idea of what is truly good for this state. It's not like the FBI has a great recent history in this state by the way. Maybe they have fully changed from "those days"- and have instituted all measures of reforms and over cite and whatever. Maybe they haven't. I'm not about to talk about or even speculate about internal FBI stuff- cause I don't know- don't walk in their shoes- and that- is the point.
The judicial system is there, in part, to prevent the government from abusing the citizens. This is why defendants have a right to a jury of his/her peers. Mr. Turner went through this process and was found to be guilty. Another part of this process, with the understanding that as with all human endeavors there is the possibility for error, is the right to appeal. Mr. Turner has chosen to not exersize this right.
Elected officals need to be held to very high standards. These standards may be tested. Mr. Turner's ethics were tested, and he failed. His behavior wasn't "weak", it was criminal. Elected officals who do not take bribes will have no need to be paranoid. When tested, they will not fail.
Could we know the name of the testers, how they decide who gets tested and when and for what purpose- or are we just supposed to trust the testers and believe them to be uninterested neutral parties just looking out for our own good because they be unblemished peaches? And paid informants trolling around- trying to badger people into criminal acts- no incentive there at all I suppose? That doesn't create a culture of deep suspicion at all. Only the guilty need fear- the pure need not huh?
This is sick.
Fear and loathing on the MBTA?
Okay, try this out: The MBTA (not frequently enough, IMHO) sends undercover cops out on the Green Line. They watch people as they enter the back doors, then ask to see Charlie Cards. Anyone who doesn't have a monthly pass gets a ticket.
Is the T "badgering" passegers into fare dodging by opening the back doors? Has this caused a sense of paranoia and fear amongst those potental riders who do not intend to pay? Then good; maybe they'll think better.
I'm not worried. I pay my fare. See how easy that is?
That's a solid metaphor. Making sure people pay for T-Rides and are not fare dodgers is right up there with paying people to troll bribes past our community leaders whenever they decide and for whatever reason they want.
Please explain what our community leaders have to fear from ANYONE trolling bribes past them?
If you are so obtusely inhuman as to not see how PAID INFORMANTS with a motivation to find corruption among our officials- paid from institutions which may have their own agendas far removed from our real purview to snare politicians in petty bribes- is harmful to a community then I can't help you.
Can you see the harm done already by this? Can you? Do you care? Or is the satisfaction of seeing Turner go down for a bribe that may not have been offered to him in the first place - give you that much of a sense of moral superiority?
Has the harm that has been done to this town by this tactic- been worth it in your view?
What GOOD was done by this? Tell me? Chuck Turner with two nickels to his name goes down for a 1 grand bribe offered to him by an informant who was paid 30 grand? His whole constiteuncy now even more prone to wallow in rank conspiracy mongering and resentment and distrust?
Awesome. Bravo. Thank you miss community minded. You got your man. Happy?
One less corrupt politician
And I'm pretty sure the desire for non-corrupt leadership does not make me "inhuman".
But your complete lack of trust in your fellow citizens does.
Actually- I aplogize for that.
That was rash of me and I regret saying that to you. Unfair. And I apologize. Uncalled for.
I don't exactly have the words to explain to you why this sort of thing troubles me. But it does. It troubles me. Because I live here. This is some pretty fundamental stuff in my mind- about how communities operate- about understanding that corruption is always going to be with us- that no utopia is on the horizon or ever will be and understanding that we are all human and must have basic levels of trust amongst each other.
I'm telling you as someone who lives here- who loves this state- loves this town- loves everything about it from stem to stern- this sort of stuff troubles me. It makes me upset. It troubles me that now a good chunk of this town is seething with suspicion and distrust and angst and worry.
Not your fault that we don't see eye to eye on this and I am sorry for that comment to you.
Chris I kind of see what you are saying.
But you simply cannot take cash for a favor. Everyone knows that and you know that. I know Chuck Turner. I've always liked him. I've always thought of him to be a very honest man who would do anything for someone in need. He would go out of his way to help someone that needed it. He is a good person who did a stupid thing, and then lied about that stupid thing.
You can play politics without being corrupt and taking cash. And I hate to say it, but you can take cash in a way where you don't get caught. But he did, and then he lied.
Boston might not be better off because it, but that isn't the point here.
And I hope, I really do, that I'm all wet here and have nothing to worry about from this sort of tactic.
And there are legal guidelines for paid informants.
Basically the informant can't be promised cash that is contingent on whether or not the person takes it or not. The informant gets the cash regardless. So the informant really has no motivation if the person accepts the bribe or not, the informant gets paid anyway.
Certain types of crimes cannot be solved without assistance of informants or the general public. In fact, the public should be involved more in the law enforcement process in my opinion.
Legal guidelines. But- I'm not exactly sure the law isn't something they can dispense with when they feel they want to or can. I mean- lots of laws on the federal level about some big stuff have been ignored with no consequences for anyone- at all. So- I don't have much faith in federal officials these days when it comes to the law. I have more faith in local police and the state police than I do federal.
You feel deeply about the subject. We're good.
I think we're sort of talking two different issues here, which should probably be seperate, but have in this case gotten all mixed up.
I have an issue with politicians taking bribes. We probably agree on that).
You have an issue with the investigative process used in this case to expose bribary. While I don't think we can, or should, do away with this process, I can see your concern, and agree that it is something to keep a close eye on.
Have I got that about right? :)
You summed it up . . .
Well. Basically- that's all I ask.
Still you protest
You have consumed the baited hook left by Turner. The idea that the FBI or the US district attorney targeted Chuck Turner for reasons veiled in secrecy, or due to conspiracy against him, or any other nonsense which predicates your reason for ascribing them "unknown agendas" or "out of our real purview" is DEMONSTRABLY FALSE.
The prosecutor laid the cards out on the table. Dianne Wilkerson, a MA State Senator, was the target of their initial investigation. They paid an informant who otherwise would have had EVERY REASON not to cooperate. She offered him her efforts towards a liquor license in exchange for money. He could have gotten that license, had a successful club, and continued his life "playing the game" that is bribery politics like WHO KNOWS HOW MANY COUNTLESS OTHERS BEFORE HIM. He even admitted to giving Wilkerson bribe money for other projects years BEFORE he went to the Feds for this license.
Stress that: HE went to the Feds. The money probably didn't even come close to making up for the loss of his desired club (how could he open it now without the liquor license he could no longer buy on the down-low?). He actually ended up feeling like he was left high-and-dry by the Feds because he got so little money and they lost interest in pressing the more tenuous connections like Pokaski and Menino whom they had purely circumstantial evidence to implicate them in the entire sordid affair. But one person that they had MORE than circumstantial evidence on was Chuck Turner who was brought into the investigation by WILKERSON and not some random vendetta with nothing to do with the original crime, not some obscured reason, and not some conspiracy.
Wilkerson told the informant to talk to Turner about getting more help on the license push due to the politics of getting more license availability in the city of Boston at the time. The informant was told that Turner needed to also be "thanked" for his efforts by Wilkerson. Turner's staff even knew damn well that when the informant showed up it was for a payoff and told them to meet Turner outside of City Hall. The Feds just followed Wilkerson's instructions and netted Turner in the process. It's not their fault he so readily accepted the bribe. They didn't seek him out without cause provided by Wilkerson herself. They didn't obfuscate the logic behind their linking Turner to this crime (and even indicted him temporarily on a conspiracy charge jointly with Wilkerson!).
None of what you ascribe to the Feds is true. It's all hogwash that Turner is using to turn the attention away from his misdeeds and scare you into worrying about this big cabal called the Efbee-Eye that nobody can see into and everyone should be wary of! Boo!
I hope you are right.
I think it's kind of hard to defend Chuck at this point in time. And I don't necessarily understand your "trolling around" concerns in terms of the tactic used to ensnare Chuck. But the other things you are saying are entirely valid.
Do we really want to get into a discussion why anyone in Boston might not trust what the FBI is up to or think there may be a lack of transparency or honesty in their work? There are a few widows who might want to explain it to you (or if you'd rather have a more enjoyable and neatly wrapped up evening re-watch 'The Departed').
So what is the intent of the Feds? "Catch the bad guys...if you haven't done anything wrong you've got nothing to worry about...hey, there just taking the Jews and the gays, why should I worry." (What's an argument without a Nazi reference?) Simplistic, giving-in-to-the-system kinds of thought processes like that lead to no place good. I would like to know what was motivating the investigation of Wilkerson and Turner and who else was "trolled" and what were the results? I think it's safe to say that how business gets done in Boston and Massachusetts in general when it comes to politicians is not the cleanest of endeavors. You mean to tell me they could only catch two "uppity blacks" in all of this?? DiMasi, Finneran, Flaherty were all sterling examples of ethical behavior and now we have the spectacle of DeLeo defending patronage. And these are just the last 4 Speakers of the House! The Feds have nothing else to investigate here?
You're exactly right, for the folks in Turner's District, do you want to explain to them why they should have faith in this system? I'm not going to drink the kool-aid and say this whole thing is race-based, but I'm a middle class white guy. So far this investigation has quacked, waddled and shat on my windshield, if the FBI wants to say it's not a duck they might consider letting us in on some of the details of just what the fuck they think they're doing. Aside from being the "good guys," of course.
Can we separate Wilkerson and Turner?
It's pretty clear why somebody went after Wilkerson (less clear why it was the feds and not the state): Unlike Turner, she'd made a career of accepting "gifts" and ignoring the law. Even aside from her earlier transgressions, the breadth of what she agreed she did when she pleaded guilty was kind of stunning - she manipulated the entire legislature, basically, to get Boston more liquor licenses, so she could dole one out to the Cooperating Witness.
I don't think we can
I don't we can separate Turner and Wilkerson -- because I think they went for Chuck in order to build a case against Dianne and anyone else they could. If I had to guess, I'd say that they expected -- or hoped -- Chuck would plead guilty and tell them everything he knows about everyone he knows, in exchange for avoiding the public spectacle of a trial and a lighter sentence, or cooperate as a witness and get charges dropped all together.
Charles and Diane
It's difficult to separate them mostly because the FBI investigators chose to lump the two of them together. In the interest of transparency, was the informant instructed in who to bribe? Was he told to pass a "lumpy handshake" to all the at-large councilors as well? Did he meet with anyone else who had a say over his supper club? Anyone working for the Mayor?
I have no idea. If they "trolled" about all the pertinent players, then I think you can lump Wilkerson and Turner together because they took the money. If these two were the only ones targeted, then I think it starts to look bad.
You're asking these questions like they weren't already answered
I hope you're just naive to the facts of the case and not pulling a "Glenn Beck" in asking questions that have already been answered in order to keep throwing doubt on the subject matter that just doesn't exist.
The informant was told to pay off Wilkerson who had already told him that the only way he was getting a liquor license through her efforts was if she was paid a bribe. That's why he went to the Feds...because he wanted the whole of Beacon Hill AND Government Center cleaned up. Wilburn, the informant, had previously paid off detail cops at one of his clubs before...so he felt like he needed to go higher up the food chain to be sure to escape the corruption inherent in the system he was trying to bust, according to his own comments (to Adrian Walker, I believe it was). So, the Feds had NOTHING to do with him bribing Wilkerson. That was her request to Wilburn and he just followed through while bugged so the Feds could get the evidence they needed.
In order to follow the corruption further into the system, they had Wilburn help them introduce a couple of other "interested parties" which were undercover FBI agents who were going to start with bribes for Wilkerson and then branch out to whomever she unwittingly gave them by discussion. One of those names for Wilburn's license request was Turner. The Feds sent Wilburn to Turner to follow that lead while the other leads petered out. So, it was Wilkerson who instructed Wilburn to tag Turner. Wilkerson didn't name any other city councilors as being necessary for bribes before she was busted.
However, as for the mayor, Wilkerson bragged to Wilburn that his money was being used to help secure Menino's support. The Feds had evidence of Wilkerson calling the Mayor during this time, however after hitting the mayor's office with subpeonas, nothing could be proven and nothing bore out of that investigation because it was too circumstantial.
They didn't "troll" anyone. They were following leads as deep as they could in every direction (even Pokaski on the Licensing Board got hammered...but slipped away for lack of evidence). They were able to nail anyone directly evidenced as taking bribes, either from Wilburn (Wilkerson and Turner) or their own people (just Wilkerson)...but Wilkerson and the other politicians did a good job of insulating themselves from paper trails and suspicions, on the inside of their political inner rings, and so the Feds were left with just those that directly contacted with the money on camera.
However, just as the judge decided in the conspiracy indictment, you can't really lump them together. Wilkerson was a ring leader who was coordinating all of the efforts and bills necessary to accomplish her goals to satisfy Wilburn's bribe-paid needs. Others were complicit with her but the links are too hard to prove because it was all backroom handshakes and spoken agreements or threats among politicians. However, for whatever reason, Wilkerson intimated that Turner needed a bribe too for his troubles (hypothesizing, maybe she had no leverage on him to make him help her cause because he *is* such a decent guy normally...so she figured money would be required). Whether that's the reason or not, we'll never know, but he *did* take that money. And so you can't lump them together for lack of concrete evidence, but they were both clearly out-of-bounds to their own degrees in the same direction on this one.
Naive to the facts
Actually, I'd say I was ignorant of the facts and that extensive post has enlightened me, thanks. So it was a case of the FBI being approached by someone with a case and they pursued it with some of the people involved being easier catches than others. Bummer for Chuck, but he should have checked what was in his hand and gave it back.
As opposed to being naive I'd say I'm a bit cynical about the situation. As the Probation Department crap, the various serial House Speaker scandals and the general history of "Rascal Kings" and all the rest of the local political history shows, there's just a lot of corruption in local politics and many folks get out of getting caught or at least avoid serious punishment. We'll see in January whether Wilkerson and Turner get similar treatment -- I have no reason to think that they won't. After they serve their time they may end up on talk radio as well. Although in Chuck's case I'm sure he'll be back in the streets gesticulating and yelling a great deal.
I don't care about the bribe. No service was rendered on my behalf in snaring this guy in this manner. It was HARMFUL. I don't care about the facts of the case against him- a case that would not exist if not but for a paid informant. This was a circus thrust upon us in my view and I don't care if Chuck Turner is guilty or not of a ONE GRAND BRIBE FROM A PAID INFORMANT. I don't care about his politics- his rhetoric- don't care if he has Hammer and Sickle tattooed on his rear. Don't care. What I do care about is how this sausage got made in the first place and for what purpose- and anyone who doesn't wonder about that is living in a Law n Order episode and an infant when it comes to politics.