Four Ironworkers defendants plead not guilty to racketeering conspiracy

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Richard Ritchie (left) talks outside the U.S. courthouse with co-defendant Joseph Dougherty yesterday.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Richard Ritchie (left) talks outside the U.S. courthouse with co-defendant Joseph Dougherty yesterday. (outside the U.S. courthouse with co-defendant Joseph Dougherty yesterday.)
Posted: August 15, 2014

FOUR DEFENDANTS in the Ironworkers union case pleaded not guilty yesterday to a second set of racketeering-conspiracy charges in federal court.

Joseph Dougherty, the former longtime head of Ironworkers Local Union 401; ex-business agents Christopher Prophet and William O'Donnell; and member Richard Ritchie will face trial Jan. 5.

Now, it appears four other defendants may plead guilty in the case. Yesterday, a change-of-plea hearing was scheduled for Sept. 23 for defendant Greg Sullivan. However, his lawyer, Rocco Cipparone Jr., said by email that he could not confirm whether Sullivan would plead guilty. "He presently has, of course, entered a not guilty plea," Cipparone said.

On Wednesday, three defense lawyers told the Daily News that their clients - James Walsh, William Gillin and Francis Sean O'Donnell - will plead guilty at hearings next month.

Indictments filed in February and last month accused the Ironworkers' former top leadership and other members of threatening, committing or conspiring acts of violence against contractors in an effort to force them to hire union members on their jobs.

Also indicted was Edward Sweeney, another former business agent. His lawyer, Carmen Nasuti III, said yesterday that Sweeney intends to face trial Jan. 5.

Robert Gamburg, lawyer for a 10th defendant, Daniel Hennigar, when asked if his client plans to plead guilty, said in an email that Hennigar "is presently weighing his options."


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