Turner Sentenced To Three Years In Prison

By Jess Bidgood and Sarah Birnbaum

Jan. 25, 2011

BOSTON — Ex.-City Councilor Chuck Turner has been sentenced to serve three years in prison after his conviction on corruption charges in October.

Prosecutors said this video still shows Turner taking a $1,000 bribe. 

Turner served more than 10 years on the city council, which he joined in 1999. He was much beloved as a representative of parts of the South End, Roxbury and Dorchester -- and, before that, as an urban activist who worked in Boston for decades.

Today's sentence caps off the two-year-long story that began when the former city councilor was arrested in November 2008 on charges of attempted extortion, using evidence from a video made in August 2007 that allegedly showed Turner accepting a $1,000 bribe from a Boston developer, Ron Wilburn, who was working with the FBI. 

Turner was re-elected to his position on the City Council in 2009 despite the federal indictments then hanging over him.

That's one example of the enduring popular support Turner has received since his arrest — although his fellow city council members elected to remove him from the council after he was convicted of bribery and making false statements in October 2010.

The three years in prison will be followed by another three years of supervised release. Turner will also be required to repay the $1,000 bribe he is alleged to have taken.

Turner's former colleague, Councilor Mike Ross, said he was sad to learn Turner's fate. 

"Chuck was a colleague of mine for a decade.  My thoughts are with Chuck and his family as they process the sentence handed down this afternoon,” Ross said in a statement.

The sentence is even stronger than the 33 months in prison requested by prosecutors. Turner's defense lawyers had requested he get probation without jail time.

Your comments: Is Turner's sentence fair?

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