Saturday, 2:15 PM
Sen. Wilkerson indicted on corruption charges
By Globe Staff
A federal grand jury indicted state Senator Dianne Wilkerson today on eight counts of accepting bribes, exactly three weeks after the FBI arrested the longtime lawmaker in an undercover corruption probe.
The Roxbury Democrat is accused of accepting more than $20,000 to help secure a liquor license and steer legislation to benefit a developer. Under federal law, prosecutors must file an indictment or a charging document called an information within 30 days of a defendant's arrest.
"This remains an active investigation," US Attorney Michael Sullivan said. "We intend to aggressively pursue all leads in this case, more fully digest the evidence we have gathered to date, and bring additional charges as called for by the evidence."
Wilkerson faces eight charges of attempted extortion under color of official right -- essentially, using her office to illegally get payments.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The indictment also seeks the return of the $23,500 paid to Wilkerson by undercover agents and a cooperating witness as part of the investigation, the US Attorney's office said in a joint statement with the FBI and Boston Police.
The 18-month federal probe of Wilkerson was outlined in detail in a 32-page affidavit filed Oct. 28 by an FBI agent in US District Court. Wilkerson has denied any wrongdoing and resisted pressure to resign despite losing re-election and receiving a formal rebuke from her Senate colleagues.
On Oct. 30, the Senate passed a unanimous resolution asking her to resign immediately, a call that she rejected because she said it was "unreasonable." The measure passed by her colleagues also referred her case to the Senate Ethics Committee, which could be the first step in expelling Wilkerson from the chamber. It was not immediately clear how long that process would take.
Wilkerson's term ends in early January. She lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Sonia Chang-Diaz.
"With this news, I once again urge Dianne Wilkerson to resign from the Senate immediately," Senate President Therese Murray said.