Former Philadelphia Labor Leader Johnny Doc Found Guilty in Federal Embezzlement Trial

Former Philadelphia Labor Leader Johnny Doc Found Guilty in Federal Embezzlement Trial

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and Co-Defendant Convicted of Misusing Union Funds

Former Philadelphia labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and his co-defendant, Brian Burrows, have been found guilty on numerous counts in their federal embezzlement trial. Federal prosecutors alleged that Dougherty, the former business manager of IBEW Local 98 and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, used over $650,000 in union funds for personal expenses, including home renovations, meals, concerts, and groceries. Defense attorneys portrayed Dougherty as a dedicated leader working tirelessly for union members while trying to account for his expenses.

A Powerful Figure Convicted for the Second Time

Dougherty, who led Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for nearly three decades, has now been convicted of conspiracy, embezzlement, and other charges in his second federal trial since a sweeping 2019 indictment. The jury deliberated over several days, considering evidence that included wiretap recordings and witness testimonies. Prosecutors argued that Dougherty and Burrows instructed a contractor to perform work on their personal homes while billing the union for it, and they presented evidence of union credit card expenses for personal items and events.

Allegations of Intentional Theft

The federal prosecutor described Dougherty and Burrows’ actions as “intentional theft,” accusing them of using union funds for personal gain. The prosecution highlighted contractor Anthony Massa’s testimony, who claimed to have overseen thousands of dollars in improvements at Dougherty’s brother’s home, which led to questions about potential conflicts of interest. Defense lawyers countered that the spending was a result of negligence rather than fraud, and that Dougherty believed in investing money to generate revenue.

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A Complicated Case and Mixed Verdict

Dougherty expressed his view that the case was complicated and that the jury chose to believe the testimony of Anthony Massa, leading to his conviction. He acknowledged that other aspects of the case fell into place accordingly. The jury acquitted both Dougherty and Burrows of three counts, indicating a mixed verdict. The defense lawyer emphasized Dougherty’s dedication to the union, claiming that he worked tirelessly for its members.

Sentencing and Pending Trial

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl denied the prosecution’s request to take Dougherty into custody following the verdict. Sentencing for both Dougherty’s cases is scheduled for March 20, coinciding with his upcoming trial on an extortion charge. Burrows is set to be sentenced on March 21.

Conclusion: The conviction of former Philadelphia labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and his co-defendant Brian Burrows in their federal embezzlement trial marks a significant development in the ongoing legal saga surrounding the misuse of union funds. The jury’s decision highlights the complexities of the case, with some charges resulting in acquittals while others led to convictions. As Dougherty awaits sentencing and faces another trial, the outcome of these legal proceedings will have far-reaching implications for the future of labor leadership in Philadelphia.