One of Us: Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney

Philly’s D.A. reveals how he broke the law (maybe) and finds something nice to say (sort of) about his recent nemesis.

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Rufus Seth Broussard Williams. It’s a mouthful.

I go by “Seth” because … my parents always called me that. And “Rufus Doofus” is a tough one on the playground.

I grew up in … Cobbs Creek, West Philadelphia.

My relationship status is … divorced.

I started working … at age 11, packing bags at the A&P on Baltimore Avenue right outside Philadelphia.

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when … medical school proved to be impossible. I got a medical discharge from West Point, because I was allergic to math and science.

The thing most people don’t understand about my job is … that I actually have to follow the law.

My three daughters are always telling me … that I think I’m cool.

If I were mayor, I would … do all I could to improve the schools. And get people to stop trashing Philadelphia, both literally and figuratively. I hate people saying shit about Philly — and throwing trash on the ground.

My biggest indulgence is … Dominican cigars. I started smoking in my junior year of high school.

One Philadelphia law I’d like to change is … being able to hold parents accountable for their children being truant. The law allows it, but there are roadblocks from the school district and DHS.

When I want to relax, I go to … my backyard in Greenhill Farms.

The last time I broke the law … on a late night, I lit up a cigar in my office. Well, I’m not sure that’s actually a violation of the law, but …

One food I cannot stand is … that flaky coconut they put on cupcakes.

If you’re going to hire a band to play my 50th birthday party in two years … go old-school. Run-DMC!

Chuck Peruto Jr. … had a great father.

When the Pope comes to town in September … I’ll be very concerned about safety and security. I’m a huge fan of our current pope, but I’m not holding my breath for an audience.

The secret to my weight-loss success is … no sugar, no carbs.

The best thing on TV right now is … whatever’s on HGTV and whatever mindless comedy is on. After dealing with the stuff I have to deal with at work, it helps me escape.

I’ll run for mayor … of Key West, Florida. If I say anything about running for mayor here, the Ethics Board will say I announced I was running, and I’ll be out of a job.

When I want a celebratory dinner, I go to … Chiarella’s in South Philadelphia and get whatever the chef says is the special.

On Sunday mornings, you’ll find me … at my church, St. Cyprian. I was a sexton in church when I was younger, and I used to take care of the church and the grounds.

The next Philadelphia team to win a championship will be … the Eagles. When? Hope springs eternal. Super Bowl 2016.

The last time I had hair … George W. Bush was president.

Originally published in the July 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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