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On eve of sentencing, friends recall a ‘star’

Dianne Wilkerson was once a lawyer and leader who sat in the academic buildings of Boston College Law School and in the chamber of the State House.

Dianne Wilkerson was once a lawyer and leader who sat in the academic buildings of Boston College Law School and in the chamber of the State House.

Today, the 55-year-old former state senator will learn how long she will have to sit in a jail cell when a federal judge sentences her on attempted extortion charges that she pleaded guilty to in June.

The day before her scheduled sentencing, some of her former BC Law classmates shared what they remembered of the potential-filled first black female state senator.

“She really was one of the stars of her class,” said Steven Wright, a Boston attorney who graduated with Wilkerson from BC Law in 1981. “Coming out she was very vocal. She was a star then.”

Wright added that she was also an inspiration for single mothers because she would sometimes take her children to campus to get her work done.

Another classmate and Connecticut attorney who did not want to be named said he remembered her as a “lovely person” who made an impression on many.

“It was a tragedy, a shame to have made a poor decision,” he said of her taking the cash bribes. How-ever, he added: “I doubt very much she could have risen to the level that she did if she didn’t have something special about her that people found endearing.”

 
 
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