By Joseph Snook
A 23-count federal indictment was filed against Philadelphia, PA. District Attorney Seth Williams on March 21, 2017.
The indictment accuses Williams of accepting cash bribes and other lavish gifts, including 16 round-trip airline tickets, an all-inclusive vacation to the Dominican Republic, a Jaguar convertible and stealing over $20,000 from his Mother’s pension.
“The indictment (also) alleges that as District Attorney, Mr. Williams compromised himself and his elected office…,” according the U.S. Justice Department.
“I am merely a thankful beggar…”
— D.A. Williams
D.A. Williams allegedly accepted travel in return for negotiating lesser sentences, or favors for one business owner who financed an all expense paid trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, complete with a presidential suite, private beach and butler. While on ‘vacation’, the businessman reportedly requested that Williams help another person in a criminal case, saying, “the guy pleaded guilty, he will take any punishment but he just doesn’t wanna do jail!” In response, Williams inquired about a second trip, “I am merely a thankful beggar and don’t want to overstep my bounds in asking… but we will gladly go.” Williams also stated that he would try to help the business owner’s friend by attempting to, “make it a county sentence.”
As the 11th highest paid employee of Philadelphia, Williams’ earnings reached $175,000 annually according to a 2012 article in Philadelphia Magazine.
Michael Harpster, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigations into D.A. Williams stated, “When elected or appointed officials stray from their sworn oaths, they must be held accountable. Combating public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority.”