A federal grand jury has indicted Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams Tuesday with 23 corruption-related charges, in which he accepted bribes totaling $100,000. An investigation in neighboring New Jersey led the feds to Williams and in the end, he was indicted and will stand trial in federal court for corruption. This past year, the State Attorney General, Kathleen Kane was convicted of corruption and sent to the big house. Williams may be close behind her.
In one instance, he is accused of accepting a Jaguar convertible before appointing an unnamed business owner to the position of “Special Advisor” to the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, even supplying the man with an official badge and letter of appointment.
Williams also allegedly received a $7,000 check from another unknown business owner in exchange for help with security screenings following the confidant’s return from foreign travel. Williams is accused of accepting an all-inclusive vacation to Punta Cana worth $6,381, a custom sofa worth $3,212, a $502 dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant, a Louis Vuitton tie priced at $205, a Burberry watch, a Burberry purse for his girlfriend, and an iPad.
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey William E. Fitzpatrick wrote:
“The indictment alleges that as District Attorney, Mr. Williams compromised himself and his elected office by standing ready to help those who were willing to pay him with money, trips, and cars. Mr. Williams’ alleged willingness to compromise his position of public trust in exchange for private financial gain is all the more unfortunate given that he was elected to protect the interests of the people of Philadelphia as their chief law enforcement officer.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster added:
“The alleged misconduct, as specifically laid out in this indictment, is brazen and wide-ranging, as is the idea that a District Attorney would so cavalierly trade on elected office for financial gain. The immense authority vested to law enforcement has to be kept in check, and that requires decision-makers and leaders with a steady ethical compass. When elected or appointed officials stray from their sworn oaths, they must be held accountable.”