Trial on conflict, theft of services charges begins for former Philly judge

A former Philadelphia judge is on trial this week on charges of theft of services and conflict of interest.

A jury was selected Monday for the trial of 72-year-old Willis Berry Jr., the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The state attorney general’s office accuses Berry of directing his judicial secretary to help handle his private business operations. Authorities said he owned and managed as many as 16 properties, including rental properties.

Berry was suspended without pay for four months in 2009, but criminal charges weren’t filed until May 2014, almost two years after he retired.

A defense attorney said last fall that Berry would enter a guilty plea in exchange for probation, but Berry rejected the deal after learning that it could require forfeiture of his pension.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.