Philadelphia District Attorney, R. Seth Williams, has been charged with corruption for accepting a bribe. He is accused of agreeing to give legal favors to a local businessman in exchange for money and a vacation in the Dominican Republic. On Thursday he pleaded guilty to the charges in court and apologized for his actions. He also resigned from his position and was promptly sent to jail.
The presiding judge was U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond. He did not believe that Williams was trustworthy enough to be left to his own devices while awaiting sentencing, which is why he sent him to jail. His sentencing date is October 24. Williams has accepted a plea deal to reduce his sentence, but still faces up to five years in prison and must forfeit $65,000 of the money that he was given in bribes.
He was originally charged with 29 counts of fraud, extortion, and bribery. He also was accused of misusing and misappropriating campaign money and city vehicles. With the plea deal, his charges were reduced to one count of corruption. He accepted the plea after hearing harmful testimony against him during the trial. His defense attorney, Thomas Burke, said that Williams is “humbled.”
Williams has previously been fined by the city ethics board for filing financial disclosure forms which demonstrated his acceptance of $175,000 from friends. This was in the form of cash as well as vacations and gifts. He claims to have used that money to keep his family’s lifestyle the same after his divorce. The fine was for $62,000 last year. That is the biggest fine in the history of the city ethics board.
Williams has been replaced by Kathleen Martin as acting district attorney. She was previously his chief of staff but took over his duties when he was indicted in March.