Apologizing for “embarrassment and shame” he brought to his office with ethical and financial missteps, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Friday he would not seek reelection to a third term, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Williams 50, made the announcement at a hastily called news conference where he took no questions and referred only obliquely to an ongoing federal investigation into his personal and political spending. Sources said the probe is rapidly nearing completion. “I have made regrettable mistakes in my personal life and my personal financial life that cast an unnecessary shadow over the District Attorney’s Office,” Williams said.
Williams’ decision leaves wide open a May 16 primary contest to replace him. Five candidates have announced. Williams’ term began in 2010 with accolades for sweeping changes he promised to implement in the city’s justice system That was overshadowed recently by a series of scandals involving his money, his dating life, and controversial personnel decisions. Last month, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics levied a $62,000 fine against Williams – the largest in its history – for his failure to report gifts he accepted worth more than $175,000, including a new roof, luxury vacations, Eagles sidelines passes, and the use of a defense attorney’s home in the Florida Keys.