Friday, January 07, 2011

As the Turner Worms

News and noise on the Chuck Turner phalanx as replacement candidates settle and fellow convicted pol gets her sentence...

The probably highly caffeinated Gintautas Dumcius over at Dot News provides the breakdown of who's in already for the Boston City Council District 7 seat. Bribery/lying-to-feds convicted Chuck Turner is still trying his damnedest to queer the preliminary and final special elections to replace him after his ousting from Council.

He is most probably but not certainly going to fail in forcing the city to reschedule his replacement. However, he faces sentencing in federal court on January 25th. The state law that tosses convicted felons out of elected office if they get as much as a day in prison would kick in when he gets any cell time. He goes before the same First Circuit Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, who just sentenced ex-State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson to 42 months for her version of taking bribes.

So we get to speculate on many things. First, will Turner's crazy suit to keep his Council office until the state drives him out like the scapegoat into the desert stay in play?

As we have come to expect from him, he is right and righteous and we're all wrong and immoral where he disagree with him. In this case, he'd have it that while the Council as a body has the right to determine who is fit to sit on it, it doesn't have the power to expel a member for any reason.

The reasoning was expounded upon repeated at the special meeting in the first week of last month to consider what to do following his conviction on four federal felonies. Councilor Charles Yancey was the surrogate and acted as Greek chorus. His inane call that absent a specific phrase that used the term "expel" the Council was powerless, powerless I say, to do anything about it.

That's heavy bluster and hair splitting for a non-lawyer. Yancey pulled his longest-serving-Councilor and he's read the city charter many times cards. Yawn.

So back to 2011 and back to this more tangible world, we have to wonder what Wilkerson's slammer slam means to Chuck Turner. His charm and failing are that he doesn't let more widely perceived reality and facts interfere with his perception of himself and his role, his marvelous role.

So far, he has steadfastly held that he was targeted for a corruption sting because of his race and his outspoken advocacy of his constituents. Outside of court, he claims innocence of the bribe. Inside, he suddenly and incredibly feigns loss of memory...of the event, the person involved, the cash, of everything.

In contrast, Wilkerson coped a plea for dropping a couple dozen other charges and admitting to taking over $23,000 in bribes. She wrote Woodlock a long letter saying she was sorry. Unfortunately, both in the letter and in her statements at her sentencing, she tried to finesse her guilt and in effect say it wasn't her fault.

Woodlock scolded her and found her symptomatic of the larger culture of corruption and compliance in the commonwealth. He's certainly unlikely to take kindly to Turner's lecturing him on law and racism and that other corruption, that of federal investigators and prosecutors.

So, can we suppose Turner will look at Wilkerson's clumsy efforts to avoid prison time and change his posture? Probably not. He's always enjoyed being the victim, individually and as members of various classes and races and political stripes.

To his advantage, this was his first provable incidence of corruption. His supporters contend it was his only one, except for those who say the video lies and it never happened.

Often first-time offenders get probation or at last minimal sentences. Yet, that's not about to happen here. While his $1,000 bribe seems wee in the corruption world, his three related felony convictions of lying to the FBI about taking that grand are damning, particularly at the federal-court level. I don't see how the judge can do anything short of sending him to prison for a year or even two.

Given Woodlock's strong condemnation of corruption and the need to punish crooked pols, he might not even be impressed if Turner suddenly admitted guilt and claimed contrition. We are unlikely to know, as there is almost no chance of a mea culpa from the self-defined "bald, bold and bright."

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Too bad Woodlock's heroics will do very little to change the "culture" on Beacon Hill- one need only to look at the parade of corrupt speakers present at DeLeo's swearing-in the other day, all of whom are just a little too white and connected for jail. They always knew they'd never get more than a slap on the wrist for their conduct- these grinning old boys and their cohorts knew how to enrich themselves by doing favors and gorge themselves on campaign-funded vacations and luxury without fear of the slow-witted Feds ever really hurting them. Indictment just made them more brazen, more confident of invulnerability. Some of these laughing hacklords probably golf with the likes of Woodlock. That's the true culture of corruption- the Turner/Wilkerson sideshow won't change that a bit.

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