PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal jury has been selected in the federal trial of Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty and Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon on Monday.
Dougherty is confident the federal government will fail in convicting him in this trial of power and influence and charges. Dougherty, leader of IBEW Local 98, exerted control over Henon.
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This is the first of two trials to deal with an umbrella of allegations, including abuse of power and hundreds of thousands of dollars in embezzlement accusations.
The first trial will focus on Dougherty and Henon’s relationship. Aside from his high-ranking position on City Council, Henon is also employed by the union.
In a 100-plus count indictment, which includes charges of bribery and honest services fraud, court papers allege Dougherty systematically rewarded Henon with benefits in what federal investigators say was an attempt to influence Henon as a councilman.
It’s been three years since the pair was indicted — COVID upended trials and proceedings in federal court. Henon did not comment on the way into court, but his attorney Brian McMonagle offered this statement following a swift jury selection process.READ MORE: Big Decision Looming For SEPTA Employees As Union Fights For Better Wages For Its Workers
“We got a jury today so we’re looking forward to starting tomorrow,” McMonagle said. “It’s been a long time. We’ve been waiting to get here and we’re here. We’re optimistic. We’re looking forward to trying our case in front of this jury. It’s a good jury. They’re fair people and we’re looking forward to it.”
But Dougherty spoke for nearly a minute about efforts by the federal government and how Monday came about.
“This is actually a relief to me,” Dougherty said. “After over probably 25 years, and they probably spent over 25 million. If you look at the last seven years, to listen to every one of my phone calls, listen to hundreds of thousands of communications. Put cameras up every place I go. I mean, I felt like I was living in Russia, and zero crimes. This is a relief. I can’t wait to get in and get this on. OK, so, we’re here.”
The second trial will also include Dougherty alongside five union officials, with allegations of embezzlement in Local 98.MORE NEWS: Flames Put Out After Tearing Through Mount Laurel Home
This trial is expected to last at least a month.