2nd Mass. Politician Charged With Taking Bribe

Glen Johnson, AP, November 21, 2008

FBI agents arrested a Boston city council member Friday after he was allegedly videotaped taking a $1,000 bribe from an undercover agent in an expanding investigation into corruption at City Hall and the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Chuck Turner was taken into custody about 7 a.m. at City Hall, less than a month after his records were subpoenaed as part of the investigation into former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who was charged last month after the FBI said she was photographed stuffing bribe money under her sweater.

Turner was charged with attempted extortion and making false statements for allegedly accepting $1,000 from the same confidential informant who said he paid bribes to Wilkerson in exchange for help getting a liquor license for a Boston nightclub.

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Turner told the FBI agents after Wilkerson’s arrest that corruption was pervasive among politicians.

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A similar FBI affidavit filed in connection with Wilkerson’s case refers to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, City Council President Maureen Feeney, Senate President Therese Murray and other city and state officials—most of whom have acknowledged receiving subpoenas in the case. Menino, Feeney and Murray have denied any wrongdoing.

Wilkerson was arrested Oct. 28 and indicated Tuesday on eight counts surrounding allegations she accepted $23,500 in bribes for arranging a liquor license and land transfer for an FBI informant and undercover agents she thought were businessmen.

The Boston Democrat was the only black member of the state Senate before resigning Wednesday under the threat of expulsion by her colleagues.

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None of the individuals was named, and the affidavit did not say if the money was ever paid. Wilkerson is represented in the House by Rep. Byron Rushing, a Boston Democrat who also received a subpoena.

Turner, Wilkerson’s city councilor, is a fellow African-American who is a Harvard-educated member of the Green-Rainbow Party. He also is a veteran community activist who has been on the City Council since 2000, and has been a staunch Wilkerson supporter.

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