The Boston Globe - 08.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

A14 The Region The Boston Globe THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019


threats of financial ruinis
somethingelse,” Lelling said at
a news conference after the
verdict, flanked by the trial
prosecutorsin the case,Kristi-
na Barclay and Laura Kaplan.
“This case reaffirms that feder-
al prosecutors play a crucial
role in combating publiccor-
ruption.”
Lawyersfor Brissette and
Sullivan said they wouldfile a
motion to US District Judge
Leo T. Sorokinto overturn the
jury verdict, a processthat
couldtake several weeks and
extend a protracted, fitful legal
saga that began when the men
were indicted in 2016.
Friendsandrelativesof
bothmenweptafter the ver-
dict.
“Obviously I’m disappoint-
ed,” Sullivan said to reporters
outside the federal courthouse.
“It’s beena longordeal. Obvi-
ously glad to have a resolution,
not this resolution. We’ll just
have to fight a little longer to
prove what happened.”
Brissette left the courthouse
withoutspeakingto reporters.
In a statement, Brissette’s law-
yer, William Kettlewell,said he
wouldcontinueto fightthe
case.
“Mr. Brissette is grateful to
the jury for their service de-
spite being very disappointed
withtoday’s verdict,” Ket-
tlewell said. “He and his legal
team... remain confidentthat
he will be vindicated.”
Sullivan’s lawyer, Tom Ki-
ley, said defense lawyers have
a weekto file briefs withSo-
rokinto overturnthe convic-
tions.
“The fightcontinues,” he
said.
Walsh, whowas invoked
frequently duringthe two-
weektrialbut did not testify,
said he was “surprised and dis-
appointed” by the verdict.
“I have made clear fromthe
beginning that there is only
one way to do things in my ad-
ministration and that is the


uCONVICTIONS
Continued fromPageA


rightway. I have always be-
lieved that their hearts werein
the rightplace.We have taken
several measuresat the City of
Bostonto ensurethat every
employee has the righttools
and training to performat the
highest ethical standards,
which has always beenmy ex-
pectation,” the mayor said in a
statement.
The casewas considereda
long shotfor federal prosecu-
tors, who have seen similarex-
tortion cases end in acquittals
or overturned convictions.
Brissette’s and Sullivan’s
lawyers arguedthat the aides
had no controloverthe con-
cert’s permitsand that prosecu-
tors werecriminalizingthe or-
dinary give-and-take of city pol-
itics.
Legal specialists considered
the prosecution novel, pushing
against — or perhapsbeyond
— the limitsof the Hobbs Act,
the federal law that definesex-
tortion. The conviction,if ulti-
mately upheld, could have a
profoundeffect on howgov-
ernment officials conduct busi-
ness withprivate companies,

legal specialists said.
“What is the difference be-
tween insisting on union labor
and insisting on affordable
housing in connection with a
development?” said Jack Corri-
gan, a formerNorfolk prosecu-
tor who lectures on prosecut-
ing at Harvard Law School.
“Even if you can prosecute
this, which clearly they can,
shouldyou?Or are you taking
what is certainly colorable po-
liticalactivity, public policy ac-
tivity, and turning it into a
crime?”
It took yearsfor the case to
reachtrial. In March 2018, So-
rokin dismissedthe charges af-
ter prosecutors conceded they
couldnot proveBrissette and
Sullivan had personally bene-
fited from the unionjobs,the
legalstandardthe judge had
established for a conviction.
Prosecutors appealed, and
in March 2019 the First Circuit
Court of Appealsruledthat
Brissette and Sullivan did not
have to benefit personally from
the jobs to have committed ex-
tortion. At the sametime, the
appealscourt said it was not

takinga stance on whether the
City Hall workers had acted il-
legallyand noted“the con-
cerns expressed by the Su-
premeCourt that an overly
broad application of the Hobbs
Act couldunduly chillofficial
conduct.”
In bringingthe case to trial,
prosecutorstrieda new ap-
proach: It was Walsh who
would benefit politicallyif the
festival usedunion labor, and
the two City Hall aides were
carrying out theirboss’s agen-
da by pressuringorganizersto
hire union workers.
In his instructions to the ju-
rors,Sorokin said they could
reach a guilty verdict only if
they concluded that Brissette
and Sullivan “knowinglyand
willfullyobtained” the benefits
of the union jobs, that theirac-
tionsaffected the company’s
ability to sell tickets or satisfy
its investors, that they usedthe
company’s fear of economic
harmto obtain the union jobs,
and that it was wrong to do so.
“It is not a wrongful pur-
pose... for a public officialto
assist or favor his constituents

or political supporters,or to
act in the hopes of securing fu-
ture political support,” Sorokin
said.
Given the high bar, the
jury’s verdict is shocking, said
Jack Cunha, a criminal defense
attorney whofollowedthe
case.
“The question is ‘Was it a
verdict that was decided on
emotionrather thanthe law,’ ”
he said.
At trial,Mike Snow, one of
the concert promoters, said he
“felt he had no choice” but to
hireunionworkers after a
Sept. 2, 2014,meetingwith
Sullivan andBrissette. Al-
though the men never made
any explicit threat, Snowsaid,
he cameaway feeling that the
concert was in jeopardy unless
he and his partner, Brian Ap-
pel, acceded to their demands.
Appel declined to comment on
Wednesday.
Prosecutorsalso featured
an e-mail that the union’s busi-
ness agent, Colleen Glynn, sent
her members after the promot-
er, Crash LineProductions,
hired the workers.

“I wantyou all to know we
got a ton of helpfromCity
Hall,” she wrote that Septem-
ber. “Startingwiththe top,
Mayor Walsh andhis staff
members... these folks fought
hardfor us becauseLocal #
foughthardfor them.”
Robert Fisher,a former fed-
eral prosecutorwhohandled
corruption cases, said prosecu-
torshave had more success
with juries thanwithappellate
courts, whichhave often over-
turned such convictions.
“I thinkthe public has al-
ways truly disliked any hint of
public corruption by public of-
ficials and that really resonates
witha jury,” Fisher said.“The
law is complicated... and
that’s where you have this di-
vergencebetween the verdicts
and the decisionsby appellate
courts.”

MiltonJ. Valencia andTravis
Andersen of the Globe staff
contributed to this report.
Maria Cramer canbe reached
at mcramer@globe.com.
Followheron Twitter
@globemcramer.

City Hall aides guilty in Boston Calling case


PATGREENHOUSE/GLOBESTAFF
LawyersforTimothy Sullivan(left) andKenneth Brissette saidthey wouldfile a motionto USDistrict JudgeLeo T. Sorokinto overturnthejury verdict.

DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBESTAFF

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