Former resident files $1m lawsuit in high school coaching dispute

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A former Amesbury resident, charged with extortion and intimidation in 2011 for allegedly trying to force the high school boys’ basketball coach to quit, has filed a $1 million federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, police and school departments, and four individuals.

John Manchester, 49, a father of three who has since moved with his family to Wisconsin, filed a complaint in US District Court on Aug. 16,, court records show.

The filing comes more than a year after the charges filed against him in a dispute with Thomas Connors, the longtime Amesbury High boys’ basketball coach, were dismissed in Newburyport District Court.

In the complaint, Manchester alleges his right to free speech, expression, and due process were violated in a case that drew widespread media attention, largely because of the extortion charge.

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