Defendant John Fidler departed the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse after being found not guilty.–Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The federal jury verdict that acquitted four Teamsters union members of attempting to extort the “Top Chef’’ television show also served as political relief for Mayor Martin J. Walsh – given City Hall’s connections to the case, according to legal and political analysts.

“If he doesn’t have this cloud hanging over his head by a conviction, it may just turn out to be a small victory,’’ said Peter N. Ubertaccio, a political science professor at Stonehill College who follows Boston politics. “It’s not an excuse for poor behavior, but it’s not extortion . . . and at the end of the day, it’s an acquittal.’’

Defendant John Fidler departed the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse after being found not guilty. –Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
By The Boston Globe 7:35 AM
The federal jury verdict that acquitted four Teamsters union members of attempting to extort the “Top Chef’’ television show also served as political relief for Mayor Martin J. Walsh – given City Hall’s connections to the case, according to legal and political analysts.

“If he doesn’t have this cloud hanging over his head by a conviction, it may just turn out to be a small victory,’’ said Peter N. Ubertaccio, a political science professor at Stonehill College who follows Boston politics. “It’s not an excuse for poor behavior, but it’s not extortion . . . and at the end of the day, it’s an acquittal.’’

The original September 2015 indictment of the Teamsters members — for crashing filming of the television show while demanding jobs — had become an early headache for Walsh, a longtime labor leader who was elected with heavy union support in 2013. During the trial this summer — months before Walsh stood for reelection — the Teamsters were accused of strong-arm tactics, bumping crew members, and slashing their car tires, though they contended they were only picketing.

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