Koh on witness list for Boston Calling extortion case

Dan Koh

Andover Selectman Dan Koh is on an extensive witness list for the extortion case against two of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s top aides in U.S. District Court.

Though his name is seen on the witness list, it does not mean Koh will be called to testify. The list of roughly 40 people begins by saying: “These are names of people either who will testify in this trial, or about who you may hear testimony.”

Koh declined to comment on the trial.

City Tourism Chief Kenneth Brissette and Director of Intergovernmental Relations Timothy Sullivan are facing extortion charges stemming from the 2014 Boston Calling music festival. The charges allege the two bullied music festival organizers into hiring union workers if they wanted city permits.

Prosecutors say they told festival organizers that if they didn’t hire union workers, others would picket. Both Brissette and Sullivan have denied the charges.

A district court judge dismissed the case in March 2018, but a federal appeals court reversed that ruling, stating the district court judge misinterpreted the law when he ruled that federal prosecutors would be required to prove the defendants personally benefited from hiring union workers.

Koh, 33, served as chief of staff to Walsh from 2013 to 2017.

A 2014 flow chart of the Boston Mayor’s Office that is posted online lists the category of “special events” under the position of chief of economic development. The responsibilities listed under chief of staff — Koh’s role at the time — include “new urban mechanics” and “civic engagement.”

Koh left the job as Walsh’s right-hand man to return to his hometown of Andover and launch his campaign for congress. Koh finished second in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary in September, trailing winner Lori Trahan by 145 votes in a subsequent recount.

Months after losing his congressional bid, Koh claimed one of two open seats on the Andover Board of Selectmen with an overwhelming majority of votes.

In the midst of the ongoing trial, Trahan released a statement hinting a possible 2020 rematch against Koh for congress. The statement said: “In fact, I was reminded of this when one former primary opponent made it pretty clear last week that he is running against me.”

Koh recently took to Facebook to express his reasons backing the impeachment of President Donald Trump. In the post, Koh wrote that he doesn’t want "to work with a President who is a bigot.”

When asked about a second run for congress, however, Koh said he hasn’t decided on anything yet.

“I’m focused on my role as selectman and haven’t decided on anything related to 2020 yet, other than we need to do everything we can to get Trump out of office,” he said.

Opening statements for the weeks-long Boston Calling trial were on July 23.

Boston Calling spokespeople Chris Langley and Alexandra Sullivan could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Assistant US Attorney Kristina Barclay could not comment as litigation is ongoing.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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