If someone stuffed $1,000 cash in your hand while talking to them, would you be aware of it? Not necessarily so, says veteran City Councilor Charles “Chuck” Turner. In U.S. District Court in Boston, Turner’s defense team rested their case today resulting from Turner allegedly taking the bribe from a businessman-turned-FBI informant.
Turned, 70, is charged with attempted extortion and making false statements to the FBI. The exchange of cash was caught on tape, using a hidden camera, by informant Ronald Wilburn in August 2007, who was seeking the politician‘s help securing a liquor license. Turner claims he didn’t look down at what he was being handed, because doing so would be “disrespectful.” He termed the exchange a “preacher’s handshake”, not a bribe.
Despite the video clearly showing the exchange of cash, during cross-examination when asked “what you got in that picture was a big wad of cash, wasn’t it?”, Turner told prosecutors “that’s what you say. I have no way of telling.” Judge Douglas P. Woodcock repeatedly admonished Turner throughout the course of his testimony for evasively answering questions and using the stand as a soapbox to rally against the FBI and prosecutors.
Wilburn also took down former State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, 55, who was infamously caught on tape stuffing a roll of cash into her bra. She pleaded guilty to charges in June that she took bribes of $23,500 and is currently awaiting sentencing. She held office for nearly 16 years and was once a rising star in Democratic politics.