Prosecutors dealt blow in Boston Calling extortion case

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors have suffered a blow in their case against Boston city officials charged with pressuring music festival organizers to hire union workers.

U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin on Monday denied prosecutors’ request to rewrite proposed jury instructions in the case.

Prosecutors have said they may have to drop the case against Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan if the judge doesn’t change his plans on how to instruct the jury.

The extortion and conspiracy trial is supposed to begin next week.

The two aides of Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh are accused of pressuring a music festival’s production company into hiring union workers by withholding city permits.

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The dispute over the jury instructions centers on the definition of “obtaining” property under anti-extortion law.

Prosecutors have indicated they’ll seek to appeal the judge’s decision.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling says his office is disappointed with the judge’s decision, and is “reviewing all of our options.”