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Ex-Philly councilmember Bobby Henon sentenced to 3.5 years in bribery case

Ex-Philly councilmember Bobby Henon sentenced to 3.5 years in bribery case
Ex-Philly councilmember Bobby Henon sentenced to 3.5 years in bribery case 02:30

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Bobby Henon, a former Philadelphia City Council member and electricians union official, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Wednesday. Henon was convicted in a bribery and corruption scandal in November 2021.

Henon told reporters he'll honor the judge's sentencing and plans to return to community service after.

"The judge gave me a sentence," he said, "and I'm going to honor that and get right back into community service."

Henon faced a possible decade behind bars. The judge spared him significant time.

More than 175 letters were mailed to the judge's chambers asking for leniency.

"I think Philadelphia is a great place to be, and there are a lot of good organizations and people," Henon said. "There are inherently a lot of good people."

The case was about loyalty, power, politics and friendship.

The judge said moments before sentencing, the people of Philadelphia thought they were electing a councilman.

Instead, he said they elected a minion for powerful union boss John Dougherty. The two were convicted on 10 of 18 corruption counts in a two-month-long trial in 2021.

Henon's relationship with Dougherty loomed large over the sentencing hearing where even the judge said Dougherty had a hotline to Henon to call in favors.

Defense attorney Brian McMonagle told the judge: "Bobby Henon would go to hell and back for John Dougherty. And it seems he did."

Henon served on city council for a decade, representing Northeast Philadelphia as a Democrat.

Before that, Henon was an electrician and political director of the powerful International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, or IBEW 98.

After he was elected to city council, Henon remained on IBEW's payroll, meaning he continued to collect his $70,000 union salary on top of his $140,000 paycheck from serving the city.

That does not violate council rules, but federal prosecutors convinced a jury that Henon's union salary wasn't for legitimate work.

Instead, they say it was a bribe from Dougherty, who was trying to use Henon's status on city council to benefit his own personal and professional goals.

Henon reports to prison in mid-April. Dougherty's second trial is scheduled to begin a week later.

Henon has to pay a $50,000 fine and the court entered a forfeiture order against him in the amount of $207,000.

The judge ripped rules for Philadelphia city council members allowing them to have outside employment — it's argued that can and has exposed elected leaders to potentially corrupt influence. 

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