PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal jury has begun deliberations in the bribery and corruption trial of labor leader John Dougherty and Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon.
Dougherty spoke Wednesday evening, claiming he has been a long-time target.READ MORE: First Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Reported In Philadelphia, New Jersey
“I just want to get back to doing what I do. Everybody in town knows what I do. I work for the working-class people, the Philadelphia building trades and I attack the underground economy and I deal with a lot of people that are very difficult to deal with,” Dougherty said.
“Corporate America, the big guys in this town, don’t like me. In fact, one phone call I had recently, somebody said every time I call it costs his construction project $40 million because I make them pay benefits and taxes,” he added.
The jury has been heard from once so far since beginning deliberations. They’ve sent a note to the judge saying they want to see some evidence.
Exactly what that evidence might be is unclear beyond the word “transcripts.” The attorneys met with the judge in chambers.
Wednesday begins a key moment in the six-week-long federal trial of Dougherty and Henon.READ MORE: Family Of Fallen Delaware County Firefighter Has Mortgage Fully Paid Off
The jurors got the case shortly after noon.
Dougherty and Henon are friendly in the courtroom, chatting and smiling. Each has supporters and family present. It’s their described “brother-like” relationship that’s under a searing microscope.
The jury has to choose between two significantly different tales of power and access.
Did Dougherty and Henon exert pressure using a council seat to illegally further the cause and elevate the position of IBEW Local 98 and Dougherty’s agenda? Or was the pair adamant about the visibility of labor, demanding a seat at an ever-shrinking table monopolized by corporate America?
Henon’s salary, drawn from Local 98, is a considerable point to keep in mind. The government alleges that was the bribe.
Henon says councilmembers can hold outside employment and his payment from Local 98 was not a bribe, arguing prosecutors failed to show any evidence linking the payment to a specific official act.MORE NEWS: Mother Of Ahmir Jones, Teen Killed Protecting Girlfriend During Robbery Near Temple University, Speaks Out
The judge seems to be keeping to a schedule as the jury navigates deciding if either defendant could be on the hook for bribery or in Henon’s case, honest services fraud.