Jury begins deliberating in Henon-Dougherty bribery trial

The jury spent nearly five hours deliberating Wednesday and will continue on Thursday.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A federal court jury must now decide on the corruption case against a powerful Philadelphia labor leader and a city council member.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Schmehl gave instructions to jurors Wednesday and released them to begin deliberations in the case against union boss Johnny "Doc" Dougherty and Philadelphia council member Bobby Henon.

The jury spent nearly five hours deliberating Wednesday and will continue on Thursday.

Prosecutors hoped to prove that Dougherty kept Henon in a $70,000-a-year union job so he could influence Henon's work at City Hall.

"Simply put, Dougherty bought Henon," Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Costello said in closing arguments Monday. "He never said 'No,' no matter what Dougherty wanted."

Defense lawyers have insisted that there's been no undue influence and say the city allows council members to hold outside jobs. The defense has also questioned how it was a crime for union supporter Henon to side with Dougherty and the building trades workers he was elected to represent.

SEE ALSO: Dougherty-Henon bribery trial: Streets commissioner claims union boss threatened his job

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"He said to me he (Dougherty) could have me replaced," Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams testified. "I took it as a ... threat."



"If you know that the person you're supposedly bribing is already going to do what you want, then there is no bribe," Dougherty attorney Henry Hockeimer Jr. said in his closing argument Monday.

Dougherty, a major force in Pennsylvania politics, has steered more than $30 million over the years to mostly Democratic candidates, and his brother sits on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Prosecutors over four weeks of testimony tried to show that Dougherty used Henon to press Comcast Corp. to steer $2 million worth of electrical work to a friend during cable contract talks with the city; to shut down the non-union installation of MRI machines at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and to investigate a towing company that seized Dougherty's car.

Hockeimer called Dougherty an older-brother figure to Henon and defended his client's "bombastic" style. He scoffed at allegations that the salary and Philadelphia Eagles tickets he passed on to Henon amounted to bribes.

Dougherty still faces a second trial on charges he and others embezzled more than $600,000 from Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which he leads.

SEE ALSO: Bribery trial opens for Philadelphia union boss Johnny "Doc" Dougherty and city leader Bobby Henon
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Three years since their indictment, the trial begins for labor leader John Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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