When Dianne Wilkerson declared victory in her 2006 write-in campaign against three primary challengers, she danced among falling confetti and supporters.

 

On Thursday she stood by herself in a nearly silent federal courtroom and pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted extortion.

 

The Roxbury Democrat and former 15-year state senator now faces up to 48 months in prison under a plea agreement. Each charge carries up to 20 years in prison.

 

Wilkerson was originally charged with 34 counts for accepting $23,500 in bribes in exchange for helping to get a liquor license for a Roxbury bar and helping investors develop state land in Roxbury.


After prosecutors detailed their case, the judge asked if Wilkerson agreed with their account.


She paused, looked up, then said, “yes, your honor.”


Wilkerson told the government’s informant that she talked to officials including Mayor Thomas Menino, Senate President Therese Murray, the City Council and the Boston Licensing Board about the bar’s license. She also claimed she put a hold on legislation to increase the pay of the licensing board while trying to obtain the liquor license.


Wilkerson’s attorney did not deny the government’s case, but told the judge that they did not agree with every “characterization.”


Prosecutors said that during their 18-month investigation more than 150 recordings were made, including videos that showed Wilkerson stuffing money under her shirt at a restaurant next to the State House. She will be sentenced in September.