Outside the courthouse, surrounded by reporters and photographers, Dougherty said, "The indictment is just a charge," and he was "comfortable with the team" of lawyers. He said he would continue doing his job, and he will continue to share his personal thoughts.
"As we proceed and I start to get information, you'll start to get all my personal feelings as all the facts come out to us," he added.
Dougherty's longtime spokesman Frank Keel repeated the words of defense lawyer Henry Hockeimer, who has scoffed at the accusations that his client stole from the union he cares so deeply about.
"It's preposterous to presume that this guy, John Dougherty, would in any way betray his own union, his membership," said Keel.
The 58-year-old electricians union leader has been charged with running a six-year-long scheme to allegedly steal more than $600,000 from the IBEW union, and covering up mis-spent funds by falsifying documents. The charges include conspiracy, bribery and fraud, and prosecutors say if convicted, the defendants could face decades in prison.
City Councilman Bobby Henon, who was arraigned Thursday on bribery, conspiracy and fraud charges, also pleaded not guilty. He was released on his own recognizance of $50,000. His lawyer described the indictment as a "travesty of justice."
The six others named in the indictment — union President Brian Burrows; union Political Director Marita Crawford; union employees Michael Neill, Niko Rodriguez and Brian Fiocca; and local business owner Anthony Massa — were also charged with embezzlement, theft, wire fraud and other public corruption offenses.
Local 98 defended Dougherty in a statement released Wednesday: "To allege that John in any way attempted to defraud the Union he cares about so deeply is preposterous. He looks forward to his day in court and the opportunity to clear his name."