Judge Hears Extra Testimony Against Wilkerson

By Sarah Birnbaum

Dec. 23, 2010

Former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson. (AP)

BOSTON — Wednesday was supposed to be sentencing day for former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who pleaded guilty in June to taking bribes. 

But instead, U.S. District Judge Doug Woodlock heard additional testimony from a Dorchester developer who says that Wilkerson solicited bribes from him.  The prosecution hopes the testimony will influence the judge to hand down a stiffer sentence for Wilkerson.  Sarah Birnbaum was at the court house and has more.

Dorchester businessman Azid Mohammed told the court he paid Dianne Wilkerson about $7,000 to help move along a development in Roxbury.  Mohammed testified that Wilkerson asked him for money and he agreed out of concern that Wilkerson wouldn’t support his development plans otherwise. 
But some of Mohammed's statements were inconsistent.

Under cross examination, Mohammed admitted that Wilkerson never offered him anything in exchange for the money, and at one point, Mohammed said he would have given her the money even if there were no development project.
Wilkerson pleaded guilty in June to 8 counts of attempted extortion after she was captured on video stuffing bribe money into her bra.  The prosecution is asking the judge to impose a sentence of 4 years – which is longer than the maximum under federal sentencing guidelines. 
Prosecutors hope that Mohammed’s testimony will convince the judge that Wilkerson deserves to do more prison time.  But Judge Woodlock didn’t seem persuaded.  At the hearing, he told prosecutors that he has reservations about increasing Wilkerson’s sentence. 
The final sentencing date is set for January 6, 2011.

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