Saturday, 2:15 PM
Wilkerson says she can't afford a lawyer
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff
Embattled state Senator Dianne Wilkerson has asked a federal magistrate judge for a court-appointed lawyer, saying she cannot afford to pay an attorney to defend her against charges that she took $23,500 in bribes.
In a two-sentence motion filed late Friday, Wilkerson asked US Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hillman to appoint Max D. Stern as a taxpayer-funded lawyer.
Stern had been defending Wilkerson in a petition for discipline filed by the state Office of the Bar Counsel in an unrelated matter when authorities arrested her Oct. 28 on federal corruption charges. Stern began representing her in the criminal matter, but there was widespread speculation in the legal community that she would be unable to pay him given her long history of financial problems.
Stern filed an affidavit detailing Wilkerson's indigence, but the document is sealed. Federal prosecutors said they have no plans to challenge the claim.
"I'm not going to comment on this,'' Stern said today. "You've got the motion.''
No hearing has been set for Hillman to consider the motion for a court-appointed lawyer.
In other motions filed last week, Stern asked Hillman to allow Wilkerson, who is free pending a probable cause hearing on Dec. 8, to be allowed to stay at two homes occupied by relatives in addition to her primary residence at Howland Street in Boston.