December 9, 2008
Hours after he was indicted by federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in the same bribery case that has ensnared former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, City Councillor Chuck Turner again denounced U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and the media.
Turner, accused of attempted extortion and lying about it, maintained his innocence and said Sullivan, a Republican, was playing a "little game." A member of the Green-Rainbow Party, Turner said, "He didn't know he was going to kick off a movement. We are going to cleanse the soul of America."
At a Tuesday rally at Roxbury Community College that at times appeared to mirror a revival, Turner sought to tie Sullivan to President George Bush's administration and "the evil that functions in the FBI."
"America to me is a jail without the bars," Turner said.
Turner also brought up the case of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested on corruption charges, including selling the U.S. Senate seat that President-elect Barack Obama has vacated. Turner said he read that Blagojevich was called first before FBI agents arrested him so as not to awaken his children. Turner said the FBI didn't have the same regard for his wife.
"Maybe it's class, not race," Turner said to the crowd of 200 supporters. "If I'm going to jail, I'm going to jail teaching," he added.
Sullivan has said the evidence, which includes a photo of Turner allegedly taking a $1,000 bribe from a FBI cooperating witness, speaks for itself. Citing the advice of his attorneys, Turner has repeatedly declined to get into the details of the case.
Some of Turner's harshest words were reserved for the media, who had showed up at the rally, some with cameras in tow.
Calling them "uninvited," Turner said, "They're not interested in telling the truth about me." He added," Sharks always come around when blood is in the water. Their objective is to destroy my reputation."
Turner added that he would call on Gov. Deval Patrick to create an ethics commission on the "role of the press in a free society."
The rally drew several local notables, including Deacon Randy Green and the Silver Leaf Gospel Singers, who led the crowd in a rendition of "I Shall Not Be Moved"; Jean McGuire, executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO); and Charles Clemons, who runs TOUCH 106.1 FM, an unlicensed radio station in Grove Hall.
"I support you as an individual," Clemons told Turner.
Turner then played footage from his statement outside a Worcester Courthouse, after his first appearance in court over the charges.
The footage repeated allegations that City Council President Maureen Feeney, who has temporarily stripped Turner of his chairmanships of the Education and Human Rights Committees, had moved to shut off Turner's phone and lock his City Hall office.
Turner's taped denouncement of Feeney drew a standing ovation from the crowd.
Feeney has repeatedly denied any action was taken to prevent Turner or his staffers from accessing his office.