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(New York Times) — Two leaders of a minority labor coalition pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that they used their organization, United Hispanic Construction Workers, as a baseball-bat-wielding criminal enterprise that threatened and extorted its way onto construction sites across Manhattan and the Bronx over the last 16 years.  The defendants — the coalition’s president, David Rodriguez, 54, and his chief lieutenant, Darryl Jennings, 50 — were arraigned on charges of enterprise corruption and related grand larceny charges in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.  Thomas Mooney, an assistant Manhattan district attorney, said there was video evidence of violence and intimidation that he said was perpetrated by the two defendants and the group they lead, which was also indicted. A not-guilty plea was entered for the organization, which prosecutors said had been acting as a criminal enterprise since 1995.

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