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Former labor leader Warren Annunziata pleads guilty after withdrawing plea

The crooked Long Island labor union leader who last week pulled out of a guilty plea to conducting union business while banned changed his mind again and admitted to the crime Monday morning in federal court in Brooklyn.

Warren J. Annunziata, 80, of Roslyn Heights, told U.S. District Judge John Gleeson that he continued to serve as an adviser to a school bus drivers' union he founded from behind bars while he was serving a 33-month sentence for extortion from 2011 to 2013.

Annunziata faces up to 5 years in prison, but is likely to get 0 to 6 months under federal sentencing guidelines, and also must forfeit $126,000. He backed out of the same deal and briefly fired his lawyer in open court last Thursday, saying he wasn't guilty.The lawyer, Murray Richman, was back by Annunziata's side Monday and told Gleeson his client had been off his diabetes medication and then was thrown off by a fire drill that interrupted the guilty plea. "He was confused at the time," Richman said.

Annunziata was convicted in federal court in Manhattan in 2010 of using his post as the head of Local 91 of the United Craft and Industrial Workers Union in Williston Park to shake down owners of bus companies for $600,000.

The new charges were based on union records showing he was paid more than $800,000 by the union while he was in jail, and recordings of prison phone calls in which he advised and gave directions to union pension and benefit fund officials.

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