Ex-city councilor, Chuck Turner, who was convicted of bribery in October 2010, has filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the action the city council took on Dec. 1 to remove him from office.
Turner was caught on videotape taking a $1,000 bribe from a local businessman turned FBI informant, for agreeing to help secure a liquor license. After the incident, he lied three times to the FBI about it. The sting was part of an operation targeting corrupt politicians. Turner is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan.25.
Turner’s lawyer, Chester Darling, said the city had no authority to remove him from office, and said that council members relied on a flawed reading of the law. “It was a disgrace what happened up there. They had no authority to remove him,” Darling told The Boston Herald.
The motion also seeks to halt the scheduled special election in February to fill his vacant seat.
Turner was re-elected to office in 2009 for a two year term which runs through Dec.31, 2011. The city council voted 11-1 to remove him, following his felony conviction. The expulsion was the first time in the city council’s 100 year history that anyone had been voted off the council.
Another prominent Boston politician, former state senator Diane Wilkerson, was sentenced on Thursday to 3 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to eight counts of attempted extortion, as part of the same FBI sting. Wilkerson took $23,500 in bribes from the same FBI informant for her help in securing a liquor license and for her influence to get an approval for a real estate development project.