New Fraud Charges Against Philadelphia DA Williams

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Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams spent more than $10,000 in campaign donations on massages, facials, and pricey dinners for himself and a girlfriend, federal prosecutors said as they added corruption charges to their case against him less than a month before his trial, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Much of the spending occurred at two clubs. Williams has made no secret that he paid his membership dues to both clubs out of his campaign coffers, arguing that the payments were legal under Pennsylvania’s relatively loose campaign-finance laws.

The new allegations added to the portrait investigators have sought to paint of Williams as a man who lived beyond his means on other people’s money. A new indictment accuses the district attorney of using government vehicles – paid for by federal grant funds meant to fight narcotics trafficking – for his personal use, including trips to the New Jersey Shore and a Virginia resort. It was not clear how the new charges, which include eight additional counts of mail and wire fraud, might affect the district attorney’s May 31 trial date. Williams’ lawyer, Thomas Burke, said he would not seek a delay. U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond has pushed for an early trial, and insisted it is in the public interest for the case to be resolved quickly.


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