Former Boston city councilor Chuck Turner is asking the US Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court’s decision that upheld his 2010 corruption conviction.
Turner filed a petition seeking a review earlier this month, and the US solicitor general’s office last week waived its right to respond to the request, according to the Supreme Court docket. A lawyer for Turner, Charles W. Rankin, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
A US District Court jury in Boston convicted Turner in October 2010 on charges of extortion and making false statements to FBI agents, after he was captured on a hidden camera in 2007 accepting a $1,000 payment from an undercover informant working with the FBI.
Federal prosecutors said that Turner accepted the payment in exchange for assisting the informant, Ronald Wilburn, with trying to secure a liquor license. A Boston appeals court upheld the conviction.
In their filing with the Supreme Court, Turner’s lawyers reiterated that he filed an order for a City Council hearing on issues relevant to Wilburn’s bid for a license before the two had ever met.
“If the jury found that Turner understood the payment as a reward for his filing of the hearing order, which Turner had done without any expectation of Wilburn’s payment, then they should have acquitted him of extortion because Turner did not do or promise a thing in consideration of the payment,” the lawyers wrote. “Yet the [jury] instructions, as delivered, called for a conviction on those facts.”
The Supreme Court docket does not indicate when the court will rule on whether it will take up Turner’s case.
Turner, 72, received a three-year prison sentence in January of 2011 and is scheduled to be released from a West Virginia prison in November 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
In an entry posted last week on his website, Turner wrote of joining a protest inside his minimum security work camp.
“The case manager who handles ‘early reentry’ [programing for inmates] as mandated by [federal law] was so lax in his efforts that we staged a one meal ‘hunger strike’ to focus the attention of the administration,” Turner wrote. “Fortunately, it seems to have worked without any of the leaders being sent to solitary, as some feared.”