Retaliation for Prosecuting Union Boss?


A Deputy District Attorney has been demoted in the wake of her proposal that prominent union boss John Dougherty be prosecuted for allegedly hitting a nonunion worker.  David Gambacorta has the story in

District Attorney Seth Williams (Left) and John Dougherty (Right)

Was a high-ranking member of the District Attorney’s Office demoted over a controversial investigation into Local 98 leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty?

Multiple law enforcement sources have told Philadelphia magazine that Laurie Malone, a deputy district attorney who oversaw the office’s Pre-Trial Division, was abruptly reassigned to a lower ranking post last month, not long after she recommended filing criminal charges against Dougherty for allegedly punching a non-union electrician at a South Philly worksite in January. The D.A.’s office denies that there was internal disagreement on the matter.

The case has been a political hot potato. District Attorney Seth Williams referred it to embattled state Attorney General Kathleen Kane because of a “long-standing professional relationship” with Dougherty, the D.A.’s spokesman, Cameron Kline, has said. Local 98 has made political donations to Williams in the past.

It was a notable decision for a district attorney who had previously boasted about his willingness to pursue criminal investigations no matter where they lead. “There are no free passes when it comes to political corruption. You don’t get a pass just because you are a friend, or a member of my political party, or race,” Williams said last March, when he filed charges against three longtime Philadelphia politicians who were ensnared in the infamous Tyron Ali bribery case that Kane had refused to prosecute.

But Kane pointed out that she had a similar conflict of interest when it came to Dougherty; she’d also received campaign contributions from Local 98. She tasked other members of the Attorney General’s Office with deciding whether to file charges against Dougherty. The FBI is also investigating the incident, according to an Inquirer report.

This being Philadelphia, it’ll probably be a little while before the Rock ’em Sock ’em South Philly Throw Down of 2016 gets fully sorted out.

Malone, who has worked for the D.A.’s Office for more than 20 years, is now overseeing private criminal complaints. It’s an assignment that one former city prosecutor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described as the “Siberia of the office.”