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Judge rejects Ironworkers business agent's plea deal

A federal judge set a May 5 hearing date for Christopher Prophet to announce if he still wants to plead guilty or face trial.

A FEDERAL JUDGE Friday rejected a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense in the case of former Ironworkers Local 401 business agent Christopher Prophet.

Under the agreement, Prophet, 44, of Richboro, Bucks County, who had pleaded guilty in December to racketeering conspiracy and extortion, would have been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

But U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson said he wants to wait until after he sentences the union's three other former business agents, who were also indicted, before he sentences Prophet.

Prophet, unlike some other defendants in the case, did not cooperate with the feds in the January trial of former union boss Joseph Dougherty, 73, who was convicted and awaits sentencing.

Prophet oversaw the union's work in Bucks and Montgomery counties. According to an indictment in the case, he had "supervised extortions, picket lines, assaults, and other acts of sabotage" in coordination with Dougherty and other business agents.

In 2010, Prophet "personally coordinated and supervised" the destruction of property at a Toys "R" Us store being constructed in King of Prussia and "an assault with baseball bats of certain non-union workers at that construction site," the indictment said.

He also coordinated, supervised and participated in the smashing of anchor bolts on construction sites to force nonunion contractors to hire union labor.

A May 5 hearing date was set for Prophet to let the judge know if he still wants to plead guilty or if he wants to face trial in his case.

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