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Corruption Chronicles

Mass. Senator Charged With Corruption

An eight-term Massachusetts state senator accused of various crimes over the years has been arrested and charged with public corruption for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to introduce legislation.

Democrat Dianne Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI this week and charged with attempted extortion as a public official and theft of honest services as a state senator. The veteran lawmaker faces up to two decades in prison and a quarter of a million-dollar fine.

A 31-page federal complaint says Wilkerson was recorded accepting cash bribes—some of which she was photographed stashing in her bra—in exchange for helping the owner of a proposed nightclub in her district get a liquor license. She also took payments for helping an undercover officer posing as a businessman seeking to develop public property in Boston.

Federal prosecutors say the senator took eight payments—ranging from $500 to $10,000—during the investigation which lasted more than a year and was conducted by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Boston Police anti-corruption unit.

Just a few days ago, the Massachusetts State Bar Counsel filed a complaint against Wilkerson for lying under oath during an attempt to overturn her nephew’s manslaughter conviction. The agency, which investigates complaints against the state’s lawyers, has twice suspended Wilkerson in the past (in 1998 and 1999). Over the years the senator has been accused of not paying federal income taxes, failing to report “consultation” fees and not accounting for donations.


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