By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A federal jury in the trial of former Ironworkers Local 401 leader Joseph Dougherty heard from two men Wednesday who were beaten by union members who were upset about work done at a non-union job site.
The prosecution says Dougherty didn't commit the acts of violence, but it claims he was behind them, and that he turned the union into a criminal organization through a pattern of extortions, arsons, fear, violence and intimidation.
Victim Luis Enrique Farias testified that he and his foreman, Christopher Mengel, and other workers, were waiting for a police escort to get past union picketers when a car pulled up and three men with baseball bats started smashing vehicles -- and then heads.
"That's when Chris came out of his truck and said 'hey, this isn't necessary,' and then the guy socked him in the face," Farias said. "And then I started fighting with him again and I had him in a headlock, and all I heard was, excuse me, all I heard was 'get that fat (expletive).' That's when I started feeling someone hitting me in the back with a baseball bat."
Farias, who was hospitalized as a result, said after the attack, he left the Philadelphia-area because he didn't feel safe.
Mengel's testimony about what happened was the same.
"They started smashing lights and windows on the trucks," Mengel told the court. "One guy hit me in the head with a baseball bat."
The defense denies Dougherty ordered the beatings, arsons and other damage to property. But to bolster his case, federal prosecutor Rob Livermore played a secretly recorded conversation for jurors in which Dougherty allegedly plotted action against a non-union job site in Center City.
"If he puts it up and gets away with it, we're tearing it the (expletive) down in broad daylight, broad (expletive) daylight," Doughtery is heard saying. "I'll rent the (expletive) crane from work reservations. We are not losing in Center City."
Eleven others charged in this case have already pleaded guilty.
You may also be interested in these news stories:
for more features.