Facing ‘shame’ of financial scandals, DA says he won’t seek third term

Charles Mostoller

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams bowed to increasing pressure over his financial indiscretions by announcing on Friday that he will not seek re-election at the end of his current term.

“I have made regrettable mistakes in my personal life and personal financial life that cast a unnecessary shadow over the District Attorney’s Office,” Williams said at a Friday morning news conference.

Williams, Philadelphia’s first African-American district attorney, plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2018.

Williams cited the “embarrassment, shame and adverse publicity” that followed investigations into his fundraising and failure to report financial gifts as reasons for his decision to not to run for a third term.

The district attorney said that a news conference he conducted Wednesday to announce his office’s expansion of the Conviction Review Unit demonstrated that the scandals had become a distraction.

“The first five questions were about me receiving gifts. Not about safety, not about justice,” he said. “The questions were about gifts.”

He also said his two daughters have had to develop a “thick skin” as they “helplessly watch their father’s character publicly attacked on a near-daily basis.”

Just weeks ago, the Philadelphia Ethics Board fined Williams $62,000 for not disclosing 89 gifts and five sources of income, reportedly the largest fine in the board’s history.

Williams allegedly received $160,050 in unreportedgifts. He was also ordered to pay $2,840 for the value of the prohibited gifts he received.

Williams’ campaign fundraising and nonprofit activities were reported by the Inquirer to be under federal probe.

Williams said he hoped he would leave the D.A.’s office “a better place than I found it.”

Multiple Democratic candidates have already kicked off campaigns for district attorney.

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