The long-delayed trial of union leader John Dougherty and City Councilman and former Local 98 official Bobby Henon begins Monday, and we should withhold judgment until the jury rules.
An Inquirer story lays out the background of the bribery trial, and notes that Dougherty allegedly bought Henon’s allegiance through a series of bribes.
If that is all the feds have against Henon, it should be a tough sell.
It is indisputable that Dougherty and Henon were as tight as a squirrel’s sphincter. The notion that the man known as Johnny Doc would have to “buy” what he already owned is laughable. It would be like saying unions “bought” Bernie Sanders’ vote by making contributions to his campaign.
They already had Sanders’ allegiance and electricians local 98 already had Henon’s vote.
Did Dougherty send money and other support Henon’s way?
Probably, the same way teachers’ unions grease Democrats.
It is not a quid pro quo. It is a community of interest. If you can jail Henon for that, you’d have to lock up most of congress.
You may call it pay to play, you may call it graft, but it is the oil that lubricates the system, like it or not.
But we will learn more details as prosecutors lay out their case, and my mind can be changed.
As for Dougherty, the feds have been after him for 30 years, and his luck may have run out now.
Why do I say that, when I do not have all the facts?
Because former state Sen. Vince Fumo told me so in a 2019 interview.
Because the odds are stacked in favor of the prosecution, which has unlimited funds and the ability to flip witnesses, 96% of those charged take plea bargains. Of the 4% who don’t, 80% lose.
The last time I spoke with Johnny Doc, he said he would fight to the end and not take a plea deal.
While I think Henon can skate, Dougherty faces a much bleaker outcome.