Published December 1, 2010
Update 3: The City Council voted 11-1 to expel Turner.
Update 2: You can stream the hearing live on the City Council website (that is, if you have a way of viewing the old-school RealPlayer format.)
Update: Universal Hub is live-tweeting Turner’s expulsion hearing @universalhub.
Convicted Councilor Chuck Turner faces the music at 3 o’clock, when the Boston City Council votes to let him stay or let him go.
Council President Michael Ross and five other councilors have said publicly they will vote to oust Turner, and others have said privately they will do the same. It will take eight votes to kick him off the council. And it would be the first time the council has ever kicked off one of its own members. (Turner has recused himself from today’s vote.)
He remains defiant, telling WBUR’s Bob Oakes on Wednesday morning it would be a “moral mistake” to remove him before he is sentenced. If he gets probation instead of jail time, Turner reasons, he should be able to serve out his term.
A testy exchange came in the middle of the interview, when Bob pushed back hard (listen at the 2:30 mark):
The councilors know that there was no basis in my work with them for (former) U.S. Attorney (Michael) Sullivan initiating a sting operation.
Well hang on, hang on, hang on for a second Councilor Turner, because we’re not going to re-litigate the whole case this morning. Let me ask you this…
Wait a minute, wait a minute, see, the issue I’m raising is a very important one, and that is that if I’d pleaded entrapment I think I would not have been convicted….
But you didn’t do that, you didn’t do that, and you were convicted.
…I didn’t plead entrapment…
…But you didn’t do that, and you were convicted.
Turner has an army of supporters, including many constituents in his own district (who re-elected him last month despite a federal indictment). Left-wingers say his conviction, of taking a relatively small bribe — $1,000 — is a political attack on the civil rights movement.
But commenters around the Web aren’t so kind. Ozman writes on wbur.org:
You have been found guilty on every count. time to be a man and move on with your life. Serve your time in jail. And don’t take tax payers money as a retirement benefit, you don’t deserve that.
Turner has served his district, which includes Roxbury and parts of the Fenway, South End, Dorchester, for more than 10 years. If sent to prison, he says, he will do prison organizing.
What do you think? Is it time for Turner to “be a man and move on” with his political life? In the comments, specify whether you live in Turner’s district.