She’s Back: Lynne Abraham Applies For Interim DA Job

Lynne Abraham. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Former longtime Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham has applied for appointment as the city’s interim DA following Seth Williams’ abrupt resignation late last month, City & State PA reported.

“It’s very demoralizing to work in an office when your leader is ruining the mission of the office,” Abraham said of her successor Williams, who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges on June 29. “That was an anomaly. We should go back to being the type of office we’ve always been.” Read more »

LISTEN: Five Things You Probably Don’t Know About Larry Krasner

Larry Krasner. | Photo via Krasner’s campaign

The latest episode of Pushback, the podcast co-produced by Philly Mag and WURD, is now available. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or check it out below.

Larry Krasner, the Democratic nominee for district attorney of Philadelphia, has a higher profile today than he’s ever had. The New York Times, Atlantic, Slate, The Nation and Fusion are just a handful of the national media outlets that have profiled the criminal defense attorney who sued the city government and its police department more than 70 times. Most of the recent articles about Krasner have centered on politics and not his personhood, which, in an election cycle, kind of makes sense. But who he is and what informs his unique theories on justice — the backstory of an unlikely political heavyweight, should he prevail in the November 7th general election — has largely flown under the radar. At least until now.

In the latest episode of Pushback — a collaborative podcast (produced by WURD Radio and Philadelphia magazine and hosted by Malcolm Burnley and I that profiles those in Philadelphia and beyond who go against the grain in pursuit of fairness, equality and justice — Krasner is profiled in his most human form (he showed up wearing A Tribe Called Quest-inspired socks). Politics is certainly discussed, but the conversation is largely dominated by his personal history.To get know to Krasner better, you’ll need to listen to the entire podcast. But for a snapshot, here are five things you likely didn’t know about him: Read more »

Seth Williams Pleads Guilty, Resigns as Philly DA

Seth Williams at a February 10, 2017, press conference. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

This is a developing story.

Nearly two weeks into his federal trial on corruption charges, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams pleaded guilty on Thursday morning and said he would resign his office effective immediately.

Williams pleaded guilty to one count related to accepting a bribe from a Bucks County businessman named Mohammed N. Ali. As part of the plea deal, 28 other counts against him have been dismissed.  Read more »

Seth Williams’s Trial Starts This Week

Seth Williams at a February 10, 2017, press conference. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’s trial starts today.

Williams faces 29 corruption charges, including wire fraud, extortion and bribery-related charges. Prosecutors say that, among other offenses, Williams stole from his own mother, spent campaign funds on personal expenses (like spa treatments and fancy dinners), used his political influence to collect gifts from local business owners (like a Jaguar convertible, a custom sofa, and vacation to Punta Cana), and drove government vehicles on his own time.

Williams has pleaded not guilty to the charges. In January, he agreed to pay a $62,000 fine to the City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics (the largest of its kind in city history) for failing to disclose gifts in the years prior, some of which were prohibited.

U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond is expected to select a jury today. Its 12 members (and four alternates) will come from a 140-member pool of potential jurors from nine southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Prosecutors, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer, expect to take two to three weeks to present their case. Williams’s lawyer, Thomas Burke, said the defense would take less than a week.

Williams, a 50-year-old two-term Democrat, announced he wouldn’t run for reelection in February. Despite protests and calls to resign from dozens of officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney and Gov. Tom Wolf, Williams has remained in office since prosecutors first filed charges against him in March. He’s shifted into a $175,000-a-year administrative role and is currently working without a law license.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

Progressive Firebrand Larry Krasner Wins District Attorney Primary

Larry Krasner | Photo courtesy of Krasner’s campaign

Democrat Larry Krasner, a firebrand criminal defense attorney who has never worked a day in his life as a prosecutor, won the district attorney primary Tuesday night. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, he captured 37.5 percent of the vote in a seven-candidate race. Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide to the 2017 Philadelphia Primary

Clockwise: District attorney candidates Larry Krasner, Joe Khan, Rich Negrin, Teresa Carr Deni, Jack O’Neill, Tariq El-Shabazz, Beth Grossman and Michael Untermeyer. | Photos courtesy of the campaigns

Do you loathe that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on the War on Drugs? Are you glad he’s finally restoring law and order to the country? Do you think the city spends too much money locking people up? Just enough? Too little? If you answered affirmatively to any of these questions, then you should vote in this year’s district attorney race. The DA prosecutes crimes in Philadelphia, helping to determine whether justice is delivered to victims and how many people end up in prison every year. The choice in front of voters is as important as ever: Current District Attorney Seth Williams has been accused by the feds of seeking thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes and stealing from his own mom.

Voters will also choose Philadelphia’s next city controller, judges, and election board workers on Tuesday, as well as vote on two ballot questions.

Don’t worry if you haven’t paid close attention to these races — it’s why we created this election guide and an accompanying list of endorsements for each candidate in the district attorney race. It’s a ruthlessly honest, easy-to-understand explanation of the candidates’ pros and cons. Here are your choices. Read more »

DA Seth Williams Indicted on Additional Corruption Charges

Seth Williams at a February 10, 2017, press conference. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was first indicted on 23 corruption charges in March – and just yesterday, prosecutors added additional fraud charges, bringing the total count to 29.

Federal authorities allege that Williams, 50, used campaign funds on several personal expenditures, including more than $677 at a New Year’s Eve party in 2013; about $777 for a birthday dinner for his girlfriend in 2014; almost $900 on massages, facials, gift cards and fitness classes in 2014 and 2015; and about $2,674 for a birthday dinner for his girlfriend in 2015.  Read more »

OPINION: Why Rich Negrin Should Be Our Next DA

Rich Negrin

Richard Negrin | Photo courtesy of Mark Nevins

Next Tuesday our city will have the chance to vote for a new district attorney amid a federal investigation that’s put a dark cloud over the office. With eight candidates running (seven from the Democratic Party), voter turnout might increase in comparison to previous low-turnout cycles. I predict, however, that voter turnout will still not exceed 20 percent because this is not a national election cycle. Further, I predict that three regions will dominate the turnout: Center City, the suburban Northwest, and the working-class Northeast. Given those factors, a thorough process of elimination will leave you with only one candidate able to secure enough votes to come out on top: former city managing director Richard Negrin.

Read more »

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