US v. Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan

Hogan Lovells secured the dismissal of an indictment charging a Boston City Hall official with federal extortion for allegedly pressuring a music festival operator to hire unneeded union labor in order to secure city permits.

The prosecution’s theory assumed that a government official can commit extortion by exerting pressure on companies on behalf of constituencies without seeking a bribe or other personal gain. Recognizing both the unprecedented nature of such a theory and the risk it posed to legitimate government action, Hogan Lovells moved to dismiss the indictment, beginning a year-long battle with the government that involved two superseding indictments and multiple rounds of briefing and oral argument before the Hon. Leo T. Sorokin of the U.S. District Court in the District of Massachusetts.

Nearly a month before trial, Judge Sorokin proposed a jury instruction that agreed with Hogan Lovells’ interpretation of the governing law. Shortly thereafter, the prosecutors publicly conceded that they could not meet that legal standard, Hogan Lovells renewed the motion to dismiss, and Judge Sorokin cancelled the trial and dismissed the indictment.

The Hogan Lovells team was led by Bill Kettlewell (Picture) and Sara Silva.

Involved fees earner: William Kettlewell – Hogan Lovells; Sara Silva – Hogan Lovells;

Law Firms: Hogan Lovells;

Clients: Kenneth Brissette;


Author: Ambrogio Visconti