United States v. Brissette, No. 18-1254 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court granting Defendants' motion to dismiss the indictment against them for failing to satisfy the "obtaining of property" element of Hobbs Act extortion, holding that the "obtaining of property" element was satisfied in this case.
Defendants were two officials of the City of Boston, Massachusetts, who allegedly threatened to withhold permits from a production company that need the permits to hold a music festival unless the company agreed to hire works from a specific union to work at the event. Defendants were indicted for Hobbs act extortion and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that the evidence was insufficient to show, as it interpreted "obtaining of property" in the Hobbs Act extortion provision to require, that Defendants received a personal benefit from the transfer of wages and benefits to the union workers that Defendants allegedly directed the production company to make. The First Circuit vacated the order of dismissal, holding that the "obtaining of property" element may be satisfied by evidence showing that Defendants induced the victim's consent to transfer property to third parties that Defendants identified, even where Defendants did not incur any personal benefit from the transfer.