Local businessman Ronald Wilburn concluded three days of lively testimony at the trial of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and then predicted that Turner will be convicted of lying to FBI agents, according to the Boston Globe. Wilburn, 71, was an undercover informant for the FBI during an investigation that netted Turner and former state senator Dianne Wilkerson.
Turner is on trial for attempted extortion for allegedly accepting a $1,000 cash bribe from Wilburn and for lying to FBI agents for allegedly telling them that he did not know Wilburn, and that he and Wilburn never discussed setting up a fund-raiser for the Roxbury councilor.
Jurors saw secretly recorded videotape of the two men meeting in Aug. 3, 2007, and of Wilburn as he allegedly handed over cash to Turner.
On the stand, Wilburn clashed with Turner defense attorney Barry P. Wilson and also used props to show what happened to the paper money as he allegedly handed cash to Turner while being questioned by a federal prosecutor. During questioning, Wilson effectively accused Wilburn of going to work for the FBI because he was in dire financial straits. Wilburn was paid about $30,000 by the government for his work.
But Wilburn insisted his finances were in good shape when he agreed to become cooperating witness because his wife had a $70,000 a year job with Fidelity Investments and adult daughter was working for the PetSmart chain earning $55,000 a year.
However, Wilburn also acknowledged that his wife lost her job in the fall of 2008 – just about the time that Wilkerson was arrested on corruption charges.
Wilburn accused authorities of deliberately unmasking him in as a cooperating witness in a Globe article on Nov. 10, 2008. The Globe reported that Wilburn was the unidentified man who gave Wilkerson $6,500 in secretly videotaped payoffs, leading to her arrest two weeks earlier. The unmasking was based on interviews with three associates of Wilkerson. Assistant US Attorney John T. McNeil confronted Wilburn about whether he himself put his name in the media long before that. Wilburn was the subject of a Globe column in July 2007 — when he was secretly cooperating with the FBI — about his inability to obtain a liquor license for a supper club he wanted to open in Roxbury.