Court does not want to influence upcoming Turner trial
A judge postponed sentencing for former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson on Aug. 20 in order to avoid influencing the potential juror pool in the upcoming City Councilor Chuck Turner trial.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock did not set a new date, though the sentencing hearing is expected to be at the end of November or beginning of December, after the conclusion of Turner’s trial, according to a source in the US Attorney’s office, Massachusetts District. Turner’s trial is slated to begin Oct. 12.
Wilkerson had been scheduled for sentencing Sept. 20 after pleading guilty to eight counts of attempted extortion in June.
Postponing sentencing is not unusual, the source said.
Max Stern, Wilkerson’s lawyer, was unavailable for comment and Barry Wilson, Turner’s attorney, did not return the Gazette’s call.
Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI for bribe-taking on the eve of her 2008 re-election bid. The bribes included $1,000 in cash that Wilkerson famously stuffed into her bra while sitting in a restaurant, a scene captured in an FBI surveillance image.
Wilkerson, who is 55, faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the eight counts. Federal prosecutors recommended that she serve up to four years, as the Gazette has previously reported. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped many related charges against Wilkerson, including conspiracy and wire fraud. The conspiracy charge linked her case to Turner’s.
Turner has represented District 7, including Egleston Square, for 10 years. He maintains his innocence.
“I have no doubt that my legal team … will be successful in proving my innocence,” Turner wrote in an open letter seeking volunteer character witnesses, a copy of which was sent to the Gazette. “I believe the trial will enable the public to recognize the unethical and immoral behavior of those who are conspiring to silence me,” he wrote.