R.Seth Williams, the embattled district attorney for Philadelphia, was indicted Tuesday on bribery and fraud charges, a remarkable turn for the city’s top prosecutor, who was considered a rising Democratic star before he became embroiled in scandal and ethics violations.
A 50-page, 23-count indictment accused Mr. Williams of accepting lavish gifts — including trips to a Dominican resort, Burberry accessories, checks for thousands of dollars and a custom sofa worth $3,212 — from businessmen for whom he was willing to do favors. The indictment also accused Mr. Williams of diverting money from a relative’s pension and Social Security for his personal use.
“Mr. Williams was willing to compromise his position of public trust in exchange for private financial gain,” said William E. Fitzpatrick, the acting United States attorney for New Jersey, who announced the charges.
A spokesman for Mr. Williams, Cameron Kline, declined to comment on the indictment. “The D.A. is not in the office today because he is spending time with his family,” Mr. Kline said.
Mayor Jim Kenney called on Mr. Williams to resign.
“It is disheartening to see yet another elected official give the public a reason not to trust us,” Mr. Kenney said.
Mr. Williams has already paid a $62,000 fine to the city’s Board of Ethics after failing to disclose more than $160,000 in gifts. Last month, he told reporters he had ended his run for a third term.
“My decision to accept gifts and fail to report them brought much embarrassment, shame and adverse publicity to me and, unfortunately, to the office for which I love,” Mr. Williams, 50, said last month. “For this, I will always hold deep regret in my heart.”
But according to federal prosecutors, Mr. Williams’s problems went beyond a failure to disclose.
The indictment said he had accepted gifts, including trips to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and items worth thousands of dollars, from a businessman who asked him for favors.
“I am merely a thankful beggar and don’t want to overstep my bounds in asking … but we will gladly go,” Mr. Williams wrote in a text message, which the indictment said referred to one of the trips.
Source : americannews.com