By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After five days of deliberations, a federal jury in Philadelphia today found former Philadelphia ironworkers’ union head Joseph Dougherty guilty of corruption, arson, and related offenses.

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Dougherty was accused of conspiring with others to commit violent acts against nonunion job sites and workers.  Several union members pleaded guilty and testified at Dougherty’s trial.  Today, Dougherty was found guilty on all six charges he faced.

Among the sites targeted by the union was the Merion Golf Club as it prepared to host the 2013 US Open, and a Quaker meetinghouse under construction in 2012.

One union member who cooperated with prosecutors testified that the vandalism tactic didn’t usually work — the damage was repaired and the project eventually completed — but it sent a message to other contractors who might be considering using nonunion workers.

The defense had suggested through questioning that the cooperators who implicated Dougherty were lying to save themselves and that there was no direct evidence he was involved.

But the prosecution claimed the workers did act on his behalf and presented secretly recorded conversations in which Dougherty praised the destructive actions of others.

After being convicted on all six counts against him, Dougherty faced a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. He was ordered by Judge Michael Baylson to be placed in immediate custody pending sentencing.

As KYW’s Steve Tawa reports, the family of the defendant and the defense say they will now prepare for a sentencing hearing and a potential appeal.

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Joseph Dougherty Jr., at 50, the oldest of three sons, says ‘we love our father, we believe in him, and believe in his innocence 100 percent.’

“We do appreciate that the jury took a long time and worked hard on it; they didn’t just spend five minutes. But if you would just respect our family’s privacy.”

Defense Attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. says the judge had no leeway in allowing Dougherty to be released to get his affairs in order before sentencing.

“There’s no other option for the court under the law, based on the circumstances of the fact that he was convicted of what would be a potential 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. The judge had no other option, at that point.”

Perri also respects the jury’s verdict, saying they worked long and hard evaluating the evidence, but he thought it could have gone the other way.

KYW Newsradio’s Steve Tawa also contributed to this report.


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