By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The defense has rested and the jury heard closing arguments today in the federal racketeering trial of former Philadelphia ironworkers’ union boss Joseph Dougherty.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Officer, Civilian Involved In Crash In Kingsessing, Police Say
After presenting a series of character witnesses who praised Dougherty’s reputation for generosity, caring, and honesty, the defense rested.
But prosecutor Rob Livermore told the jury the evidence proves beyond any doubt that Dougherty led Ironworkers Local 401 with a pattern of arson and extortions, and built an army of soldiers willing to do it, in an ongoing effort to force nonunion contractors to hire union workers.
During his closing argument, Livermore used a white tissue as a prop, cited the case of one contractor whose sites were damaged five times, and saying then the union came calling again.READ MORE: Philadelphia's Furry Friends Celebrate Howl-O-Ween
“He waved the white flag. He said no more. I can’t take this anymore. Its easier for me to hire a couple of guys, and cheaper, than it is to fix the anchor bolts and deal with all the union problems. And that is what all the non-union contractors said, we hired the guy because we were afraid our construction sites were going to get smashed up,” Livermore said.
Livermore cited one secretly recorded conversation in which Dougherty says you should be able to do whatever you want to nonunion workers and sites, and it should be legal.
But defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr., in his closing arguments, downplayed such language as mere talk — in his words, “testosterone talk.”
And as for the cooperating witnesses, ironworkers who pleaded guilty and testified against Dougherty, Perri has called them desperate men who lie and say anything they can to save themselves.MORE NEWS: Pennsauken High School Hosts Saturday Football After Game Moved Due To Several Fights Last Friday