Saturday, 2:15 PM
(Bill Greene/Globe Staff)
Turner gestured to supporters to quiet down so he could talk to the media outside the courthouse.
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
WORCESTER -- Surrounded by supporters and a crush of media as he left the federal courthouse in Worcester today, City Councilor Chuck Turner proclaimed his innocence and vowed to return to work Monday.
“I am absolutely positive that a jury of my peers will come to the conclusion that I am innocent. ... I know I am innocent,” Turner said.
Turner said the City Council plans to hold a meeting Monday to determine whether he can continue to serve. But the council has “no voice in the matter of whether I serve,” he said.
“The only people who can make the decision whether I serve is my constituents," he said, noting that he was reelected with 82 percent of the vote. “I believe my district is firmly committed to having me serve as their city councilor.”
“This is supposed to be a democracy,” he said. “I am not going to let this abuse of power continue.”
About 30 supporters gathered around him, at one point chanting, “Chuck! Chuck! Chuck!” Some carried various signs, including some that read, "We Stand by Turner."
Turner said he had been told today that the FBI had asked the council to turn off his computer and telephone.
Justin Holmes, chief of staff to Council President Maureen Feeney said no one in Feeney's office or the central staff's office was told to block access to Turner's phones or computer.
"The council took no action to prohibit Councilor Turner or his staff from accessing his office today," Holmes said.
‘Mr. Turner is not guilty of what he has been charged with,” said Turner’s attorney, Barry Wilson. “I don’t think Mr. Turner is guilty of anything.”
Asked about photos released by the government that allegedly show Turner accepting a cash payment, Wilson said, “I’ve seen some grainy photos. I don’t know what they show.”
“I think somebody doesn’t like Chuck Turner,” he said.
Turner headed to a nearby parking garage. Before he got in his daughter's sport utility vehicle, he vowed, “I am going to be back at work Monday.”