- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Three former New Jersey dockworkers have admitted to conspiring to extort Christmas tributes from members of a local branch of the International Longshoremen’s Association.

Federal prosecutors say 82-year-old Vincent Aulisi of West Orange, 56-year-old Thomas Leonardis and 55-year-old Robert Ruiz of Watchung entered their pleas Tuesday in federal court in Newark.

Aulisi is the former president of ILA Local 1235. Leonardis was the union president from 2008 through 2011, while Ruiz was the union’s delegate from approximately 2007 through 2010 and a former ILA representative.

Prosecutors say the three men participated in a conspiracy to extort the holiday tributes from ILA Local 1235 members.

Charges are still pending against eight defendants, including a man prosecutors say is a soldier in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra.

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