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 »

Seth Williams’s Home Goes on the Market for $450K

7012 Woodbine Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Realty Mark Associates

7012 Woodbine Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Realty Mark Associates

You may recall that the attorney for embattled Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams asked to fire his client because he was worried he wouldn’t get paid.

You can help ease that lawyer’s fears by buying Williams’s lovely home in Greenhill Farms, which went on the market on April 25th.

The agent fudged the location a little, figuring (probably accurately) that more people would be interested in an Overbrook Farms home than one in the neighborhood directly to the west. But this handsome rustic Colonial built in 1947 can be had for less than it would cost you to buy into Overbrook Farms, and it has many of the features that make homes in that neighborhood so desirable, plus a few extras. Read more »

Wolf: Why Hasn’t Williams Resigned by Now?

L: | R:

L: Tom Wolf | R: Seth Williams (AP Photos/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf once again called on indicted Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams to resign today.

The state Supreme Court moved to suspend Williams’s law license yesterday, more than three weeks after federal authorities charged him with 23 corruption-related counts, including wire fraud, extortion, the use of interstate facilities to promote bribery and honest services fraud. Williams gave up his own law license late last month.  Read more »

Just Who Is This Lawyer That Seth Williams Can’t Afford?

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Seth Williams is having some problems. Oh, not just that pesky little arrest and all those federal charges. He’s also having lawyer issues. Williams enlisted the assistance of in-demand Center City attorney Michael Diamondstein, but now Diamondstein is begging off the case, citing ethical issues as well as the fact that Williams can’t afford to pay up. A judge has given Williams until this Friday to sort it all out, and in the meantime, we got to wondering, who the heck is Michael Diamondstein? Read more »

Michael Weiss, Two Others Resign From Mazzoni Center Board

Michael Weiss | Image via Mazzoni Center's website

Michael Weiss | Image via Mazzoni Center’s website

A week after it was revealed that Gayborhood bar owner and Democratic committeeman Michael Weiss was named — as “Business Owner #2” — in the 23-count federal indictment of District Attorney Seth Williams on corruption-related charges, Gayborhood nonprofit Mazzoni Center has confirmed to G Philly that he is no longer on the organization’s board.

A Mazzoni spokesperson sent the following statement: Read more »

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