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Judge Dismisses Extortion Case Against Boston City Hall Aides

Kenneth Brissette, director of the Boston Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment was arrested in 2016 on what prosecutors described as union-related extortion charges. (Michael Dwyer/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Kenneth Brissette, director of the Boston Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment was arrested in 2016 on what prosecutors described as union-related extortion charges. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

A federal judge has dismissed the case against two Boston mayoral aides accused of pressuring music festival organizers into hiring union workers.

Judge Leo Sorokin's ruling Thursday comes days before Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan were supposed to go to trial on extortion charges.

Prosecutors didn't fight the dismissal but indicated they will appeal. They said the judge's proposed jury instructions were too restrictive and would prevent them from putting on their case.

Prosecutors said Brissette and Sullivan bullied organizers of the 2014 Boston Calling music festival into hiring union workers by withholding permits.

Attorneys for Brissette and Sullivan argued didn't do anything wrong and that prosecutors overreached.

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's administration says it expects Brissette and Sullivan to return to City Hall.

In a statement, Walsh said he "appreciate[s] this being brought to resolution."

He said: "I look forward to continuing our focus on moving the city forward and working to expand opportunities for Boston residents, every day."

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom

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