PHILADELPHIA (AP) – John Dougherty, an influential Philadelphia labor union leader, and Bobby Henon, a city council member, were convicted of conspiracy charges in a corruption trial on Monday.
During the trial, prosecutors said, “Johnny Doc” kept Bobby Henon on the payroll to assist his union in holding a firm grip on construction jobs.
The convictions of the two follow a detailed FBI investigation within the territory of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, led by Dougherty. However, the probe will not mark the leader’s legal woes.
Dougherty was declared guilty of eight counts, while Henon was convicted of ten counts. Both have been declared guilty for honest services wire fraud and conspiracy. However, as per the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Dougherty was discharged from three of eight counts of fraud, and Henon was freed from eight, including the one that involved bribery.
Jennifer Williams, U.S. Attorney, stated, “a strong message to the political power players of this city and any city that the citizens of Philadelphia will not tolerate public corruption as business as usual.”
Jurors took several days before giving the final verdict on Monday. The court has scheduled the defendant’s sentencing for February 2022.
After leaving the courtroom, Dougherty briefly spoke to the reporters. However, he did not directly respond to the court’s ruling.
“We’re going to go back and regroup. I’m going to take my time, meet with my lawyers, and we’re going to meet with the heads of the unions, and we’ll regroup,” he said.
Henon did not respond to any request for comment as he left the court. Messages for both the defendants were left with officials.
Dougherty added Bobby Henon on the payroll in a $70,000/year for a “no-show” job, prosecutors argued during the court trial.
“All Henon had to do to keep those benefits flowing to him (was) to use his official duties to please John Dougherty,” said Bea Witzleben, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The defense attorneys argued that the city permits council members to have outside jobs and insisted on “undue influence”. They further asked for a possible explanation of how Henon to side with Dougherty was a crime?
“If you know that the person you’re supposedly bribing is already going to do what you want, then there is no bribe,” Henry Hockeimer Jr. the attorney for Dougherty, said last week in his closing argument.
There is nothing wrong with council members holding outside jobs, but Henon’s salary on payroll was “a bribe in disguise,” said Williams.