Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams abruptly resigned and agreed to plead guilty in a surprise move that ended a federal bribery trial that dragged messy details about his personal life into the open, and cast a deepening shadow over the final days of his once-promising political career, reports Philly.com. U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond made a startling announcement of his own, ordering the city’s top prosecutor handcuffed and immediately hauled off to prison pending his Oct. 24 sentencing. “I have a guilty plea from the highest law enforcement officer in the city,” Diamond said. “He betrayed his office and he sold his office. I am appalled by the evidence that I have heard.”
As U.S. marshals surrounded Williams, his ex-wife, Sonita broke down in tears. Jurors, abruptly dismissed after two weeks of damaging testimony, were flummoxed. The district attorney’s resignation letter was couriered to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office, as the city’s Board of Judges scrambled to schedule a special meeting to name an interim replacement, something it hasn’t had to do in nearly three decades. “I’m just very sorry for all of this, your honor,” a choked-up Williams said. His career began in 2010 amid widespread accolades for sweeping changes he promised in the city’s justice system, only to be overshadowed by a series of scandals involving his money, his dating life, and his personnel decisions. He faced 29 counts of bribery, fraud, and honest services fraud.