3 Ironworkers Union Members Plead Guilty

The guilty pleas from members of the Ironworkers Local 401 union mean business manager Joseph Dougherty is the only one facing trial.

Ironworkers Local 401 head Joseph Dougherty is the only member of the union facing trial after three members agreed to plead guilty today in court.

Earlier this year, several Ironworkers union members were arrested and charged with participating in what a U.S. Attorney called “goon squads” that used vandalism to intimidate non-union work sites. This summer, more charges were added, and two more were indicted. Then came the guilty pleas. Eventually, eight of 12 pleaded guilty.

Christopher Prophet, William O’Donnell and Richard Ritchie agreed to plead guilty today in exchange for agreed-upon sentences. District Judge Michael Baylson can reject the pleas. He already said he was unlikely to accept O’Donnell’s plea, which calls for six months of imprisonment and six months of home arrest. According to prosecutors, O’Donnell was the least culpable of those charged.

The plea deals came as jury selection was set to begin today in the trial of the three union ironworkers. They instead pleaded guilty to RICO act conspiracy and other charges.

Today’s three pleas leave Dougherty standing alone. His trial is set for early next year.

[Inquirer | South Jersey Times]