By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two defendants pleaded guilty yesterday, and two more pleas are expected today in the Ironworkers federal racketeering case. A business agent and union worker have admitted to crimes including arson and attempted arson.
Business agent Francis O’Donnell and co-defendant William Gillin have admitted they were part of a corrupt organization that routinely engaged in what was euphemistically called “night work” – crimes, destruction of property, to try to force non-union contractors to hire union ironworkers.
Gillin explained himself to Judge Michael Baylson.
Judge Baylson: “Anybody use any force, violence or threats to get you to plead guilty?”
Gillin: “No, your honor.”
Judge: “Are you doing this of your own free will?”
Gillin: “Yes I am.”
Judge: “Do you understand by entering a plea of guilty to these felonies that that might deprive you of valuable civil rights, such as the right to vote, hold public office, to serve on a jury, possess a firearm, hold a professional license?”
Gillin: “Yes sir.”
Judge: “All right, why do you want to plead guilty?”
Gillin: “Because I am guilty of all the charges presented by the government, your honor.”
Sentencing is scheduled for January. Six more defendants are scheduled to plead guilty. Four defendants – now-retired union leader Joseph Dougherty, and William O’Donnell, Christopher Prophet, and Richard Ritchie – have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in January.
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