Criminal Portrait


What’s a portrait of a liberal darling look like when you scrape off the top layer?

Wilkerson, a native of Pine Bluff, Ark., raised herself up from poverty, burst onto the political scene as a crusading lawyer for the NAACP in Boston, and championed good government causes as a liberal legislative powerhouse and the lone African-American in the state Senate.

That’s Dianne Wilkerson, a former Massachusetts state senator who cops a plea and, presumably, heads off to prison today.

She had been reelected time and again, despite a 1997 guilty plea for failing to file tax returns, a 1998 probation violation that sent her to a halfway house for 30 days, and a 1998 finding that she had violated campaign finance laws dating back to her first Senate contest in 1992.

Crusading lawyers who champion good government. I’m putting that on the list of dangerous people to avoid.

She was accused in the November 2008 indictment of taking eight bribes over a period of roughly 18 months in 2007 and 2008 to secure a liquor license for a new nightclub, Dejavu, and to pave the way for a commercial development at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street.

Several of the alleged payments took place at restaurants just steps from the State House, including the Fill-A-Buster lunch counter and posh No. 9 Park.

Never mind – it’s already number one on the list.


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