Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham has gone to court in an attempt to force current DA Seth Williams out of office.
Williams, who is under a federal corruption indictment and has given up his law license, has said he’ll remain in office while he fights the charges.
Abraham’s suit charges that Williams can’t legally hold the office without being a licensed attorney.
The complaint, by prominent Philadelphia attorney Richard Sprague, argues that “since defendant Williams is no longer licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he does not meet the statutorily -required qualifications to occupy the office of the Philadelphia district attorney.”
“I want Seth to do the right thing,” Abraham said in a telephone interview, “to take the burden and the shame from the people who are working there trying to protect the rights of victims and give defendants a fair trial.”
Abraham and Williams share a long history. Williams was a deputy in Abraham’s office; at one time, she promised to support him as her successor when she left the office.
But Williams ran against her in 2005 in hotly contested Democratic primary, which Abraham won. Williams ran and won again four years later, when Abraham decided not to seek re-election.
Abraham’s suit was filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The complaint asks the court to “immediately issue a writ of quo warranto to extinguish Williams’ unlawful attempt to maintain his position as the Philadelphia District Attorney.”
According to the Farlex online legal dictionary, quo warranto is a proceeding from English common law in which a person’s right to hold an office or governmental privilege is challenged.
Williams’ spokesman Cameron Kline said the office would have no comment on the suit “at this time.”