• Opening statements delivered in Boston Calling extortion trial

    By: Robert Goulston


    BOSTON - The trial for two top Boston aids to Mayor Marty Walsh is underway in federal court and the mayor himself could be called to testify.

    Federal prosecutors say Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan forced the organizers of the Boston Calling concerts into hiring union workers with the implication that if they did not, they would not get their permits to hold their event.

    Brissette and Sullivan appeared in Boston federal court on charges of extortion and conspiracy to extort the organizers of Boston Calling into hiring union workers. Prosecutors say the two city workers abused their power by implying that if Boston Calling did not hire the union workers, they would not get the required permits.  

    The prosecution described in their opening statement that there was never any direct threat or use of force, but there was an implication that Boston Calling would not get a license back in 2014 unless they hired union workers. Defense attorneys for Brissette and Sullivan told the jury their clients did ask Boston Calling to hire union workers but never threatened, forced or used fear to get them to do so. 

    The big question going into this trial is whether Mayor Walsh will have to testify. He is on the witness list but his office says it's unclear if he will be called. 

    Parties declined to comment on the case leaving the courtroom. 

    Mayoral aides' Boston Calling extortion trial scheduled to get underway

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