Feds: Wilkerson took more bribes

April 17, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

23 charges added

The federal corruption case against former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson expanded last week as a grand jury indicted her on 23 additional counts related to her alleged acceptance of $23,500 in bribes in 2007-08.

The new indictment also claims Wilkerson sought and accepted still more bribes as early as 2002. But Wilkerson has not been charged with crimes related to those alleged bribes at this point.

Wilkerson pleaded innocent to the earlier charges, and denies the new bribery claims, according to com-ments her attorney Max Stern made in an April 8 Boston Globe article. Stern pointed the Gazette to the Globe article, saying he had nothing to add to his comments there.

Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI last year following an undercover operation that allegedly caught her accepting cash bribes in exchange for helping a nightclub get a liquor license and for helping the would-be developers of a Roxbury property.

The new bribery claims involve an unidentified “Witness D,” one of the Roxbury developers. The indictment claims that Wilkerson sought and received an unspecified number of bribes, ranging from $500 to $1,200, from Witness D in 2002-04 and 2006. The indictment also claims that Wilkerson sought $10,000 from Witness D twice in 2008—including five days before her FBI arrest.

It is unclear why Wilkerson is not facing further bribery charges on those claims. The US Attorney’s Of-fice did not have immediate comment. In the Globe article, Stern called it “telling” that prosecutors did not file actual charges related to the new bribe-taking claims.

The 23 new counts are mail and wire fraud charges related to her alleged acceptance of those bribes and the actions she allegedly took in exchange for them. The charges cover various communications made by tele-phone, e-mail and regular postal mail.

Wilkerson also faces a conspiracy charge for allegedly joining Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner in the liquor license deal. Turner faces his own charges of bribery and making false statements as well. No new charges or other claims against Turner were added in the new indictment. Turner has proclaimed his inno-cence.

If convicted, Wilkerson faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the 32 counts against her.