"There is always a dynamic in joint trials,'' said US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, noting that unlike Wilkerson, Turner "is not involved in both schemes'' that are alleged in an indictment against the pair.
He scheduled a June 21 trial for Wilkerson, a Roxbury Democrat who resigned in November 2008 following her arrest, and an Oct. 12 trial for Turner.
"I think it's in Senator Wilkerson's and my best interest to be separated because they are separate cases,'' Turner told reporters today after the hearing in US District Court in Boston that was packed by their supporters. He proclaimed his innocence and called the case a waste of time and money.
"I don't believe it's worth spending thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of taxpayer money in order to have me totally vindicated by a jury of my peers,'' Turner said. "I think it's a very bogus case."
Wilkerson is accused of taking bribes between 2002 and 2008 to secure a liquor license for a nightclub and legislation to pave the way for a commercial development in Roxbury. She's also charged with the theft of honest services and mail and wire fraud.
Turner is charged with accepting a $1,000 bribe and making false statements to the FBI.
Woodlock denied motions by Turner and Wilkerson to dismiss the case, saying he rejected their claims that prosecutors committed misconduct by publicizing their arrests and disseminating undercover FBI photographs of Wilkerson allegedly stuffing a bribe into her bra.
Wilkerson's attorney, Max Stern, declined to comment on the judge's rulings.
On the beat
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