Wilkerson says black leaders worked with FBI against her
Three men deny being informants against senator
A former Massachusetts state senator convicted of corruption said days before reporting to prison that two black ministers were FBI collaborators against her and another black leader told others to stay away from her due to a pending investigation.
All three men have denied her accusations.
Dianne Wilkerson, once the state’s highest-ranking black politician and a rising star in the state Democratic party, was sentenced in January to 3 1/2 years in prison. She reported yesterday to federal prison in Danbury, Conn.
Wilkerson said last weekend at a Boston forum called The Attack on Black Leadership that the Rev. Ray Hammond of Bethel AME Church and Bishop Gideon Thompson of Jubilee Christian Church were among those who worked with federal agents.
She also accused Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, of telling others in 2005 that she was under investigation for extortion and bribery before her arrest two years later.
“I don’t want to walk away and leave the same people that I know who were doing the damage . . . to continue to do the damage,’’ said Wilkerson, who received a standing ovation from the 80 or so people at the forum. “There was a host of people in our community [who] worked with the FBI . . . who participated on a regular basis.’’
But Wilkerson, of Roxbury, offered no evidence to her charges. The men strongly denied her charges in a statement.
“We have also heard allegations that we have spoken with the FBI and been FBI informants. All these allegations are, of course, completely untrue,’’ they said.
Wilkerson only said she read some “FBI files’’ of some ministers and retold the story of a February 2006 event where several ministers asked her about an FBI raid of her offices that did not happen.
The Dorchester Reporter first reported the comments. A video of her speech also was posted online on UStream.
Wilkerson was arrested in 2008 on charges of accepting $23,500 in bribes after being videotaped stuffing bribe money into her bra. She pleaded guilty.
Former Boston Councilor Chuck Turner also was sentenced to three years in federal prison taking a $1,000 bribe.
In their statement, Hammond, Thompson, and Williams said it was been “very painful’’ to watch Wilkerson self-destruct. “We’ll continue to pray that in time Senator Wilkerson will be able to confront some difficult truths about herself and begin rebuilding her life,’’ they said.
The men declined to comment further.
Wilkerson’s comments were some of her most detailed since her conviction. In addition to accusing the FBI of planting informants in her office and political campaigns, Wilkerson said she feared for her life and had friends pick her up to take her to functions.
Before addressing the forum, Wilkerson asked that her grandson be removed from the hall because she said he didn’t know the details of her sentencing and saw it “as the same thing that happened to Martin Luther King’’ Jr.
She then told the audience not to worry about her as she entered prison.
“I don’t want anybody to be sad for me,’’ Wilkerson said on the video.