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Sorokin yesterday tossed the extortion case for which Walsh lieutenants Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan were facing up to 20 years in prison after prosecutors told him Wednesday they would not fight having the case broomed. Prosecutors said they couldn’t win without first appealing Sorokin’s controversial jury instruction on Hobbs Act extortion — a ruling they matter-of-factly told him last week was “wrong.” Labor attorney Michael Anderson said labor disputes — whether they involve requiring union workers for a city permit or a boycott of a nonunion job — belong in civil court, not in the hands of a federal prosecutor. “It’s clear that, starting with Carmen Ortiz and extending after she left, the U.S. attorney’s office believes it had the power to regulate labor disputes though the use of extortion prosecution,” Anderson said. “This probably has to be the last time they try that after they lost Top Chef, they lost in Burhoe on appeal, and they lost on the dismissal indictment with Brissette and Sullivan.” Former City Councilor John Nucci said Walsh “comes out of this in a strong position. ... I don’t see any negative impact on him by this whole episode.” In a statement, Walsh said, “I appreciate this being brought to resolution,” and his office expects Brissette and Sullivan — who were on paid leave during the trial — to return to City Hall, with the specifics still to be worked out. Sorokin said in a three-page ruling that calling off the trial now “spares the parties, the public, and the Court the time, burden, and expense of a trial, while permitting the government to seek review of the Court’s legal ruling to the extent the law authorizes an appeal, which is the Court’s intent.” Brissette, 53, the city’s tourism czar, and Sullivan, 38, Walsh’s chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of using threats to bully Crash Line Productions into hiring unneeded union labor for the 2014 Boston Calling music festival. The men have been on paid leave, with Brissette drawing $99,910 last year, and $123,624 for Sullivan, according to the city’s 2017 payroll. Sorokin’s precipitous decision to cancel the trial just days before it was to start was hinted in a frosty private exchange he had with prosecutors last week. He told assistant U.S.
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