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On the eve of his trial, a defendant in the Local 17 extortion and racketeering case took a plea deal Monday.

Jeffrey C. Lennon, a former member of the Operating Engineers union, pleaded guilty to attempted extortion before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio.

As part of his plea, Lennon admitted trying to place stars, sharp metal objects designed to damage truck tires, at the entrance of a construction site on Delaware Avenue in 2006. The union was protesting Uniland Development’s hiring of a non-union contractor.

Defense lawyer Joseph M. LaTona said his client has agreed to cooperate with the government’s prosecution and could be called to testify at the trial that begins in Buffalo federal court this week.

Lennon faces up to two years in prison.