BOSTON (AP) – The Boston City Council decided Monday not to take immediate action against a member allegedly photographed taking a $1,000 bribe after he vowed to stage a public rally of supporters before their scheduled meeting.

Council President Maureen Feeney postponed the special meeting where councilors were to discuss their options after Chuck Turner’s arrest on public corruption charges. Turner had said he would not go quietly; Feeney insisted the council would not be intimidated.

“This body is not and will not become a stage for political theater,” Feeney said.

Turner used the rally to lash out against the media, which he said was rushing to judgment, and to demand that Feeney restore his committee chairmanships on the council, which were stripped after his arrest.

“How does she know I’m guilty?” Turner said to hundreds of cheering supporters on City Hall Plaza. “She needs to restore my chairs immediately.”

Turner had initially promised to give more details and an explanation about his arrest and FBI photos that appeared to show him accepting a wad of cash. But at the rally, Turner declined, saying he had been advised by his lawyers not to discuss his case publicly.

He had previously described his arrest as part of a “sting operation in order to try to entrap me.”

Turner was arrested in City Hall by federal authorities last week for allegedly taking a bribe from an undercover agent he thought was a businessman looking for help in obtaining a liquor license. He was later released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

Turner is charged with one count of attempted extortion and two counts of making false statements.

Feeney said she would take no action against Turner based on a “mere arrest,” but defended her decision to strip him of his committee chairmanships, citing a “cloud of concern” over the council.

Turner said he welcomed the decision to postpone the council meeting, which he described as an attempt by Feeney “to put me on trial.”

Feeney said council members never intended to take any immediate action against Turner at the meeting, but just wanted to understand what their legal options were. She also denied earlier allegations made by Turner that she had shut down his office or blocked access to his phones or computers.

She said the council left open the option of taking action if an indictment was handed up against Turner. Those actions could include voting to censure him, urge him to resign, or judge him unqualified to serve.

Turner’s arrest was part of an ongoing public corruption probe at Boston City Hall and the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Turner’s records were subpoenaed as part of the investigation into former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who resigned last week after she was indicted on charges she accepted $23,500 in bribes for arranging a liquor license and land transfer for an FBI informant and undercover agents she thought were businessmen. Federal authorities released photographs showing her allegedly stuffing bribe money under her sweater.

The affidavit said Turner was videotaped in August 2007 taking a wad of money from the informant while in his district office, then denied the payment when confronted by FBI agents on the day Wilkerson was arrested.

The informant attempted to make a second payment in September 2007 just outside the City Council chamber but could not arrange time alone with Turner, according to the affidavit.

The arrests of two high-profile African-American politicians have been met with shock and anger in the city’s black community.

Cindy Walker lives in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood and said she had known Turner for 30 years and doesn’t believe the allegations against him.

“I think there’s more than what we’re seeing,” said Walker, 50. “A lot of people would like to see him gone. He’s one of the most powerful black men in Boston.”

U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan has bristled at the suggestion that black officials were being targeted because of their race.

“We’re blind to color when it comes to the evidence,” Sullivan said Friday.


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