By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There was remarkable testimony today in federal court from an insider at Ironworkers Local 401, with details of criminal activity and alleged complicity by former union boss Joseph Dougherty, now on trial for racketeering.
The defense has maintained that Dougherty, known as "Joe Doc," is not guilty of conspiracy in the criminal acts committed by the unionized ironworkers at nonunion job sites around the Philadelphia area.
Sean O'Donnell, who pleaded guilty to vandalizing a nonuion work site and who is cooperating with the prosecution, testified that Dougherty knew of and approved of the illegal attacks.
In addition, O'Donnell testified that so-called "night work" -- such as smashing anchor bolts and damaging other equipment at nonunion job sites -- was the way the union did business for decades. He described it as part of the "unwritten job description" that deterred contractors from using nonunion workers.
And, according to O'Donnell, he had occasionally received approval for the vandalism from Dougherty beforehand. "It was understood," O'Donnell says, adding that when he mentioned incidents to Dougherty afterward, the union boss replied, "Good," and smiled. O'Donnell says he took that to mean it was OK, and it was OK to do the next one.
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