Former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner isn’t getting any sympathy from the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion on Wednesday upholding Turner’s three-year prison sentence for corruption. The appeals decision rejected his claims that the verdict was in error and that the government was vindictively trying to punish him, reports The Boston Globe.
Turner was charged with making false statements to the FBI and accepting $1,000 in bribes to help a local businessman obtain a liquor license. The businessman turned out to be an FBI informant. Turner wasn’t the only politician taken down by the FBI sting. State Senator Dianne Wilkerson was also caught red-handed.
Turner claimed that he had no recollection of ever receiving the $1,000. He testified to this extent at trial. The jury wasn’t moved and returned four guilty counts on October 29, 2010. In 2011, the district court sentenced Turner to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
On appeal, Turner argued that the elements of his bribery offense were not satisfied. Namely, he claimed that the government failed to show that he received money to which he was not entitled, knowing that payment was made in return for official acts.
Generally, the elements are satisfied in a quid pro quo situation if an agreement can be implied from the actions and words of the official.
As for the government’s vindictiveness in the sentencing, the court noted that the court may consider vindictiveness only when a reasonable likelihood of vindictiveness exists.
Dianne Wilkerson also appealed her sentence earlier this year with far more persuasive arguments than Turner’s. Despite that, her sentence appeal was also denied.