RadioBDC Logo
My God Is The Sun | Queens of the Stone Age Listen Live
 
 
< Back to front page Text size +

Did federal prosecutors overreach in targeting Chuck Turner?

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  March 25, 2011 04:07 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

As Chuck Turner reports to prison today to begin his three-year sentence, Harvey Silverglate and Kyle Smeallie lob an attack at prosecutors for bringing the corruption charges that snagged the longtime activist and city councilor.

Writing in the Phoenix, Smeallie and Silverglate don't argue that Turner was necessarily innocent, or — as Turner and some of his supporters have long maintained — that he was targeted because of his race.

Rather, they write, the prosecution was inappropriate because it was triggered by Turner's unwillingness to help the FBI in its pursuit of bigger fish: former state senator Dianne Wilkerson.

"Stepping back, it becomes clear that Turner was targeted by the FBI because he refused to play ball and build the government's case against another Massachusetts politician," they write. "This is all about federal power — the power to destroy any who won't cooperate with the government's agenda."

It's an interesting idea — but one that Turner himself has basically rejected.

Instead, Turner wants his supporters to believe he was the victim of a racist government conspiracy to silence him, masterminded by former attorneys general John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales and former president George W. Bush. "They're in the business of persecution," he explained after his sentencing in January.

Smeallie and Silverglate's theory, on the other hand, relegates Turner to the status of an almost incidental target, charged only because he refused to help prosecutors go after another politician. Prosecutors would surely disagree with that portrayal — and, with so much invested in his own fantasy world of White House-led conspiracies against him, so would Turner.

Globe file photo: former Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner speaks outside the courthouse after his sentencing in January.

  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.

ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

Editors' Picks

Tickets for T seat hogs?Tickets for T seat hogs?
Why the MBTA should punish riders who needlessly claim more than one seat.
T-shirts and democracyT-shirts and democracy
What souvenir sales teach us about reform in Myanmar
Lessons from Kony 2012Lessons from Kony 2012
Why Invisible Children films are the new textbook of civic engagement.
The Angle's comments policy
archives