Former United Autoworkers President Gary Jones was arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on charges arising from a federal investigation into corruption in the union.
The arraignment hearing was conducted by video conferencing since federal district courthouses are closed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The arraignment comes more than two months after Jones was charged with conspiracy involving embezzlement of union dues money, racketeering, and tax evasion.
If Jones is convicted, the charges could send him to prison for up to ten years and he could be fined up to $500 thousand.
U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen entered a plea of not guilty for Jones at the arraignment.
Jones could change his plea to guilty at a hearing scheduled for June 3 that has already been postponed multiple times. The details of a possible plea agreement are still unknown.
Whalen also placed him on a $10,000 unsecured bond with conditions that include no travel outside the continental United States and surrender by May 18 of his passport, concealed pistol license, and any firearms or other dangerous weapons.
J. Bruce Maffeo, Jones' attorney, said neither he nor Jones had any comment following today's hearing.
The UAW in a written statement highlighted reforms it said it has instituted to enhance transparency and financial oversight.
The statement also said in part, "If Gary Jones is found guilty of using his high-ranking position to steal sacred dues money, it would be an unforgivable violation of his oath of office and an utter betrayal of the hard-working men and women who elected him."
Jones is one of 14 people charged in the UAW corruption scandal. Thirteen have pleaded guilty.