Jury picked to decide Philly DA Williams’ fate

 The federal corruption trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is underway. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

The federal corruption trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is underway. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

Opening statements will begin Tuesday in the corruption case against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

Prosecutors and Williams’ attorneys spent Monday with U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond selecting a jury of 10 women and two men who will hear the case.

The panel includes two African-Americans in the case against Philadelphia’s first black district attorney.

Neither Williams, his attorneys nor prosecutors would comment about the case ahead.

Williams is accused of selling his influence for cash, trips and other gifts; stealing money intended for his mother’s care; tapping campaign funds for personal use; and helping himself to official vehicles for personal trips.

Defense attorney George Parry, who’s worked as both a federal and state prosecutor, said Williams would do best with a jury of Philadelphians.

“In Philadelphia, doing a pal a favor, and the pal picks up your bar tab or maybe pays for a vacation, you know, I think a Philadelphia jury might shrug its shoulders,” Parry said.

But this case is in federal court, so jurors come from nine counties in Eastern Pennsylvania.

“They tend to be much more conservative, much more straight-laced, and much more demanding of their public officials,” Parry said.

The trial is expected to take three to four weeks.

In August, Williams admitted he’d failed to report $160,000 in gifts he’d received the previous six years on required financial reports.

In January, he agreed to pay a $62,000 fine to the city Ethics Board for failing to report those and other gifts, as well as accepting gifts prohibited under the city ethics code.

Williams announced in February he would not seek re-election. The Democrat has chosen to remain in office, even though he forfeited his law licence while he contends with the corruption charges.


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