BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A federal judge in Boston is tossing the convictions of two former City Hall aides found guilty last summer of conspiring to extort the organizers of the Boston Calling music festival.
Kenneth Brissette, the city's director of tourism, and Timothy Sullivan, chief of intergovernmental affairs, were convicted in federal court in Boston of Hobbs Act conspiracy on August 7, 2019. Brissette was also found guilty of Hobbs Act extortion while Sullivan was acquitted of that charge.
They were accused of conspiring to extort the organizers of a music festival by pressuring them to hire union labor—which prosecutors said they did to appease Mayor Marty Walsh, a former union leader with close ties to organized labor.
But on Wednesday, Judge Leo Sorokin cleared Brissette and Sullivan's convictions, writing in a 90-page ruling that the "unusual" move was "required based on the government’s failure to prove that either man committed the charged offenses."
Sorokin wrote that the government had to prove the pair got a quid pro quo, but failed to do so.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said in a statement that his office was "disappointed" by the judge's decision.
"An impartial jury, following legal instructions written by the Court, voted unanimously to convict these two men," Lelling wrote. "We are disappointed by this decision and will review our options."
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports