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Chuck Turner: Not the usual federal suspect

12/3/2008, 3:25 a.m.

There was only one problem: It was unclear whether Feeney had the legal authority to make such a decision. In fact, she conceded as much when she later announced that she had sent the case to the city’s legal department for review — and canceled a City Council hearing hastily called to discuss Turner’s future.

Feeney said the reason for the meeting’s cancellation was not to allow Turner and his supporters to transform a council session into “a stage for political theater.”

That was just fine by Turner. He already had written a letter to Feeney expressing his displeasure with her actions and urging her to cancel the proposed meeting.

“Not only would a meeting at this point be premature, unjust and unfair,” Turner wrote, “but also it would create a situation in which I will not be able to defend myself, since discussing specific aspects of my case would cause me to be in violation of the conditions imposed by the court.”

Left unanswered in the swirl of charges and countercharges is the question of corruption of State House politics. According to the federal complaint, Turner allegedly told FBI agents that “if you took out all [the] corrupt politicians, you’d take out 90 percent and be left with us 10 percent.”

That might be. But at least in the eyes of the Green-Rainbow Party, Turner remains among that truthful tenth.

“Turner has been a courageous leader in the fight for principles of justice and peace,” the party said. “He has been at the front lines in the struggles to save peoples’ homes from cruel foreclosures, for the right to decent jobs, the right to live free from violence in our communities. Chuck Turner has been willing to go to jail on principle, and has consistently and selflessly led the way on issues of vital importance to the well-being of his community.”