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Locked up, but not shutting up

Locked up, but not shutting up

By Peter Gelzinis  |   Friday, March 25, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Columnists

As expected, Chuck Turner did not go gently into that miserable night of prison.

Personally, I like that.

There’s something endearing about Chuck going off to jail in West Virginia with his fists clenched, screaming about how he was “set up” by the morally bankrupt FBI before a crowd of supporters at Northeastern University last night.

It’s just too bad Chuck didn’t scream about all this three years ago, when Ron Wilburn slipped a wad of cash in his palm.

That’s when Chuck, the community activist, the grassroots pol, the old social radical should have gone to the press and yelled, “They’re trying to frame me!” That’s when we might have believed him.

But he didn’t. Instead, Chuck took the dough.

Those who love him foolishly continue to argue against visual evidence of cash being tucked into Chuck’s fist, in what he would infamously call “a preacher’s handshake.”

“What if it was only 20 bucks instead of a thousand?” one true believer argued yesterday. Sadly, you can’t seem to convince them a bribe is a bribe is a bribe. The amount is not the point.

It’s the breach of trust, the grabbing of the cash.

Make no mistake about it, Chuck Turner is right when he talks about the moral bankruptcy of the FBI. Their history in Boston is indeed deplorable.

The federal government has already shelled out well more than $100 million in damages to people who were framed and/or murdered by FBI informants.

Sadly for Chuck, he’s not one of these victims.

Some people, including Joe Salvati, Louis Greco and Peter Limone, got framed by the FBI. While others, such as Chuck Turner, got hooked.

There’s a difference, a big difference.

Chuck Turner, like a great big fish, took the bait that was dangled in front of him.

It is baffling because Turner was never known as a “player.” He never seemed to be about money or the trappings of political power. And yet, he cuffed that wad of cash from Ron Wilburn like an old pro.

At the end of a long conversation yesterday, one of Chuck’s close friends admitted that he “might have made a mistake in judgment.”

He then rightly asked, “Does he deserve three years in prison for that?”

The answer is no. Chuck is going to jail for three years because he didn’t apologize. He’s going to jail for three years because he didn’t cop a plea, or beg for mercy, or stop saying bad things about former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan.

In truth, he’s also going to jail for three years because we don’t really know how many other “preacher’s handshakes” he pocketed over the years.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1325930

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