Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Feds Defend Bribery Charges Against Union Boss, Dougherty and Councilman, Henon

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Federal prosecutors have reiterated the solidity of their bribery case against union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon in recent court documents.

Filed in response to Dougherty’s motion to dismiss 12 counts from the indictment against him, the government’s reply argues the charges alleging that the union boss bribed Henon were strong enough to go to trial, contrary to Dougherty’s arguments that the indictment is vague and doesn’t allege quid pro quo.

Dougherty is accused in counts 97 through 109 of the 116-count indictment of furnishing Henon with a “stream of personal benefits” including a salaried position with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and $11,800 in sports tickets in exchange for furthering Dougherty’s agenda in City Council.

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The indictment clearly spelled that out, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Costello wrote in the government’s response.

“It alleges that they did so in the following manner: Dougherty bribed Henon with a ‘stream of benefits,’ which included Henon’s salary from Local 98 and tickets to sporting events, with the intent to influence Henon in his capacity as a member of Philadelphia City Council, and in exchange for Henon’s performance of official acts at the request of, and on behalf of Dougherty, and that Henon agreed and accepted,” Costello wrote.

Nor does the indictment fail at alleging quid pro quo, he said. Dougherty specifically claimed that the charges failed to show he “‘gave, offered, or promised to’ Mr. Henon the alleged quid—a Local 98 salary,” and that he “expressed the ‘authority,’ ‘ability,’ and ‘desire’ to pay the alleged bribe.”

“First, the indictment alleges that Dougherty gave Henon bribes, in the form of a stream of benefits, which included his Local 98 salary (which was $70,649 in 2015 and $73,131 in 2016), and tickets to sporting events (the value of which was a total of $11,807 for 2015 and 2016),” Costello said. “Second, the indictment does not allege that the defendant ‘offered’ Henon a bribe.”

Dougherty has led IBEW 98 for more than 25 years. From that perch he has been a major political force in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, providing huge amounts of funding for countless political and judicial offices. His organization also provided significant amounts of funding for the campaigns of several Democratic candidates now sitting on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, including that of his brother, Justice Kevin Dougherty.

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The others who were indicted along with Dougherty and Henon are union political director Marita Crawford; Brian Burrows, a business partner with Dougherty and president of the Local 98; Michael Neill, training director for the union’s apprentice training fund; Dougherty’s nephew, Brian Fiocca; Local 98 employee Niko Rodriguez; and construction company owner Anthony Massa.

Henry Hockheimer of Ballard Spahr, who represents Dougherty, pointed to an answer to the government’s response, filed Tuesday.

“In its opposition to defendant’s motion to dismiss, the Government bobs and weaves around the simple, straightforward argument advanced in the motion: the indictment fails to allege that Mr. Dougherty bribed defendant Robert Henon in exchange for Mr. Henon’s engaging in official acts that deprived the citizens of Philadelphia of their right to Mr. Henon’s honest services. Instead, the Government relies on unsupported and unsupportable legal conclusions in urging the court to just leave it to a jury to sort out its inherently inconsistent bribery theory,” Hockeimer wrote in court papers.

Henon’s attorney, Brian McMonagle of McMonagle Perri McHugh Mischak and Davis in Philadelphia, did not respond to a request for comment.

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