2 Former Boston Officials Plead Not Guilty to Amended Charges - NECN
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2 Former Boston Officials Plead Not Guilty to Amended Charges

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    2nd Boston Official Charged in Music Festival Extortion

    A second Boston official has been arrested in connection with the extortion of a music festival in the city. (Published Wednesday, June 29, 2016)

    Two former top aides of Boston's mayor accused of extorting a music festival on behalf of union labor earlier this year appeared in federal court to face amended charges on Monday morning.

    Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan, who have not worked for Mayor Marty Walsh since their indictment in May and June of 2016, respectively, pleaded not guilty to extortion charges and asked to have their trial pushed back to Jan. 8.

    Brissette and Sullivan allegedly pressured organizers of the Boston Calling music festival to hire union workers for the show back in 2014.

    The appearance in federal court came after the U.S. attorney's office made a key language change to the extortion and conspiracy charges last week.

    Prosecutors brought a similar case against the teamsters union in a highly publicized trial involving the show "Top Chef," but after losing that case, they've made changes to the charges in this case by focusing on wages instead of jobs.

    Defense attorneys for the two men said they don't believe the change will work.

    "It tells you that the language was flawed and that the theory was flawed and that's what we've argued in the pending motions to dismiss," said Tom Kiley, a defense attorney for Sullivan.

    The charges could send Brissette and Sullivan to prison for up to 20 years.

    Brissette served as the city's tourism chief, while Sullivan worked as the intergovernmental affairs director.

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