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Judge denies Chuck Turner’s bid to halt Feb. election Refuses to quash entire suit

Judge denies Chuck Turner’s bid to halt Feb. election
Refuses to quash entire suit
By O’Ryan Johnson  |   Tuesday, February 8, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Politics

Photo by Ted Fitzgerald

Lawyers for ousted city councilor Chuck Turner were handed another legal blow in federal court yesterday, when a judge denied their bid to stop a special election that would seat a new councilor in the district Turner once held.

But U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf kept Turner’s lawsuit alive for now. The suit alleges the City Council acted outside its authority when it voted to expel him, and in doing so, violated his civil rights.

“If the council had that authority given them by the Legislature, they could have done it. They acted outside their jurisdiction,” insisted Turner’s lawyer, Chester Darling of Andover. “It was a small injury, but you can’t let them go by, at least that’s my feeling. Either you adhere to the law or you don’t.”

City Council candidate Tito Jackson’s campaign spokesman — who said Jackson was endorsed by Turner even though the ex-councilor is trying to block the Feb. 15 election — declined to comment directly on Wolf’s decision to strike down the injunction and allow the campaign to proceed.

But Jackson spokesman Joseph Ferris said, “The residents of District 7 are without representation.” He added: “The campaign is focused on talking to people about Tito’s vision for the community.”

Wolf asked the Supreme Judicial Court to look at two elements in Turner’s civil-rights lawsuit before he makes a decision on whether to allow it to proceed. Boston Corporation Counsel Solicitor William Sinnott said the judge will ask that court to decide whether the Boston City Council exceeded its authority when it expelled him, as well as a second legal item. He said the state court should rule within a month.

Turner, 70, a 1963 graduate of Harvard University, was convicted of accepting a bribe from an FBI informant who posed as a man seeking a liquor license. Turner insisted he had no recollection of the exchange, which the FBI filmed with a hidden camera. Turner maintained his innocence and kept his seat on the council throughout his trial. After he was convicted, councilors voted to expel him. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by three years supervised release.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1315135

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