When Democrat Seth Williams ran for district attorney in 2009, his campaign slogan “A new day, a new DA.” Though the voters hoped he’d be a fresh new talent full of integrity, Philly.com reports that his “personal financial struggles, staffing decisions in his office and gifts he received and failed to report from wealthy benefactors.”
Federal prosecutors accused Williams of “repeatedly misusing campaign cash and government property to live well beyond his means and selling the influence of his office to two wealthy benefactors who showered him with gifts including trips abroad, a $3,000 custom-built sofa and a used Jaguar convertible.” All in all, he had 29 corruption-related counts.
At first, he denied any wrongdoing. Then, he disparaged the FBI and the IRS. Finally, he pled guilty to accepting a bribe from a Philly-area businessman. As part of his deal, Williams resigned and will face up to 5 years in prison. Williams’s voice cracked when he revealed that his resignation was “humbly, sincerely and effective immediately.” Though he asked the U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond to remain free until sentences, the judge wasn’t interested.
“I have a guilty plea from the highest law officer in the city that he betrayed his office and he sold his office … I am appalled by the evidence that I heard,” he said. “I simply do not credit this defendant’s testimony. I do not believe him.”
He was led out of the court room in handcuffs. After the surprising guilty plea, New Jersey District William Fitzpatrick had this to say:
Philadelphia has long been a cesspool of Democratic corruption, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.
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