Philadelphia NOW: Williams Should Prosecute DNC Sexual Assault Case

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigators Marc Costanzo, left, and Frank Fina, speaks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigators Marc Costanzo, left, and Frank Fina, speaks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) released a statement today demanding that District Attorney Seth Williams prosecute the sexual assault reported by Gwen Snyder during the Democratic National Convention.

“Time and again, this organization has had to call on District Attorney Williams to simply DO HIS JOB,” the statement reads, referencing his previous handling of employees who were involved in the state’s “porngate” scandalRead more »

What They’re Saying About Kathleen Kane’s Conviction

Kathleen Kane

Politicians around Pennsylvania called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign after a jury convicted her Monday night of perjury, obstruction, and other charges related to an act of political retaliation against a former state prosecutor.

The case has consumed the political press since the spring of 2014, when the Philadelphia Inquirer ran one of its biggest headlines, typographically speaking, in recent memory: KANE SHUT DOWN STING THAT SNARED CITY POLS. The paper reported that day that Kane, who’d taken office the previous year, had quietly spiked an investigation into six Philly Democrats who’d been caught accepting bribes in a sting operation. She maintained early on that the sting was tainted by racial bias — all the targets were African-American — and that prosecutions weren’t winnable.  Read more »

Report: D.A. Seth Williams Discloses $160,150 in Gifts

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says he received $160,050 in previously unreported gifts between 2010 and 2015.

Williams, who reportedly released the information on Monday, is required by the city to file the personal and professional gifts, which include more than $20,000 in travel expenses, more than $45,000 for a roof repair, and expenses for Phillies, 76ers and Eagles tickets, among other things, according to the InquirerRead more »

Kathleen Kane Convicted of Perjury, Obstruction of Justice

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted Monday night on two counts of perjury and seven other counts, including obstruction of justice and abuse of office, according to multiple reports.

A jury found Kane responsible for the leakling of secret grand jury documents to the Daily News as an act of political retaliation against former prosecutor Frank Fina. Kane suspected that Fina had been responsible for a March 2014 report in the Inquirer that she had scuttled an investigation of six Philadelphia Democrats who’d been caught accepting bribes in a sting operation. The grand jury documents suggested that Fina had dropped an earlier investigation into Jerry Mondesire, the former head of the Philadelphia NAACP. Read more »

D.A.’s Office: Tax Woes Won’t Impact New No. 2’s Hire

District Attorney Seth Williams announces the appointment of Tariq El-Shabazz (right) as his first assistant.

District Attorney Seth Williams announces the appointment of Tariq El-Shabazz (right) as his first assistant.

The D.A.’s Office announced a big hire last week: Veteran defense attorney Tariq El-Shabazz is being brought in to serve as deputy for investigations, and take over the job of first assistant district attorney when the current first assistant, George Mosee Jr., retires in December.

During a press conference to announce El-Shabazz’s appointment, District Attorney Seth Williams praised El-Shabazz as an “outspoken voice for justice.” Williams also described El-Shabazz as someone he’s leaned on for advice ever since the death last fall of Williams’s longtime mentor, former local NAACP leader J. Whyatt Mondesire.

But some sources within law enforcement circles quickly began to grumble about the hiring. As the website Philadelinquency first reported, El-Shabazz has been hit with a plethora of significant tax liens in recent years, and the landlord of his Broad Street office sought in March to have El-Shabazz evicted, citing more than $27,000 in unpaid rent .

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Kathleen Kane’s Ex-Consultant: We Planned Grand Jury Leak

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L: Attorney General Kathleen Kane, photo by Matt Rourke/AP R: Joshua Murrow, right, photo by Art Gentile/Bucks County Courier Times

On the fourth day of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s trial on perjury and conspiracy charges, her former consultant dropped a major bomb: He helped illegally leak grand jury information to a Daily News reporter because Kane told him to do it, he said. Read more »

Meet Seth Williams’ New No. 2 Man

Defense attorney Tariq Karim El-Shabazz (center) will become District Attorney Seth Williams's top deputy.

Defense attorney Tariq Karim El-Shabazz (center) will become District Attorney Seth Williams’s top assistant.

District Attorney Seth Williams just handed a top job in the D.A.’s Office to a guy who recently punched him in the face.

O.K., we’re oversimplifying things a little. Hang on.

During a press conference Thursday morning, Williams announced that he’s hiring defense attorney Tariq El-Shabazz to serve as the deputy for investigations, and as first assistant district attorney. The role of first assistant is currently held by George Mosee Jr., who is slated to soon retire. Read more »

The Beginning of the End of the Kathleen Kane Saga: Her Trial Starts Today

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the state Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11th, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

What a short, strange trip it’s been for Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s soon-to-be-former attorney general.

Around this time four years ago, she was crisscrossing the commonwealth and winning over curious voters with her charm and moxie, a former prosecutor from Scranton who vowed to bring an outsider’s perspective to the insiders-only world of state politics. Yeah, everyone trots out that line at some point during an election campaign, but for Kane it was more than mere spin; she really wasn’t part of the Democratic party’s inner circle.

She made history that fall, becoming the first woman and the first Democrat to be elected state attorney general. The 3 million votes she won seemed to confirm that Kane was onto something with her whole let’s-shake-up-this-old-boys-network mantra. It wasn’t long before political observers started gossiping about her possibly running for governor someday, maybe even president. A political star had been born!

Now, the most pressing question about Kathleen Kane’s future is whether she’s going to end up spending time behind bars. Read more »

A Modest Proposal: Let’s Keep Guns Out of Kids’ Hands

Sheriff Jewell Williams (left) demonstrates how to use a gun lock while District Attorney Seth Williams (center) and City Council President Darrell Clarke (look on).

Sheriff Jewell Williams (left) demonstrates how to use a gun lock while District Attorney Seth Williams (center) and City Council President Darrell Clarke (look on).

Did you hear the great news?

Philadelphia got through the Democratic National Convention in one piece, proving once again that it can host Big Events every bit as well as some of the nation’s other largest cities. Self-congratulatory pats on the back for everybody!

But …  hang on for a second. As much as we’d love to hammer another nail in the coffin that holds the city’s generations-old inferiority complex, we still have major quality-of-life issues that will linger long after the last multi-colored donkey is removed. Like youth gun violence, for instance.

Read more »

The Really Important Criminal Justice Conversation You Missed

The Atlantic panel on criminal justice reform included (left to right) Anne Morrison Piehl, District Attorney Seth Williams, WIlliam Cobb, Keir Bradford-Grey and moderator Ron Brownstein.

The Atlantic panel on criminal justice reform included (left to right) Rutgers professor Anne Morrison Piehl, District Attorney Seth Williams, Redeemed founder William Cobb, Keir Bradford-Grey of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and moderator Ron Brownstein.

The one discussion this week that will probably impact Philadelphia the most in the not-too-distant future took place in a bar on Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Seth Williams were among a handful of city officials who participated in “Rethinking Crime and Punishment: A Next America Forum,” hosted by the Atlantic in the Field House, that spot you absentmindedly walk past all the time on Filbert Street across from Reading Terminal Market. Read more »

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