A federal appeals court has upheld the corruption conviction and three-year prison sentence of former Boston city councilor Chuck Turner, rejecting his claim of a flawed verdict and an attempt by the government to vindictively punish him.
In the decision handed down Wednesday by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, the justices referred to Turner’s contention that he did not know he had been handed $1,000 by an informant in an exchange captured on video surveillance. Turner said that the handoff was akin to a “preacher’s handshake” and that it would have been rude to look down to see what was in his hand. Prosecutors said the money was a bribe.
Turner’s appellate lawyer, Charles W. Rankin, could not be reached for comment late Thursday night.
The justices also said, “The totality of the evidence, especially the evidence of Turner’s lies and his own testimony, strongly supported the verdict.”
The legal setback for Turner came after a victory last month when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled the City Council overstepped its authority in ousting Turner following his October 2010 conviction.
On his website after the SJC ruling, Turner thanked supporters. “Finally, let me thank all of you who, despite the attempt by the US attorney, the media, and others to brand me as a corrupt elected official have been unwavering in your support and denial of the accusations and slander,” he said.
Turner is scheduled to be released in November 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.