PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s top prosecutor pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon as he was arraigned on corruption charges.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was released on $50,000 bail after he was arraigned in federal court on 23 counts of corruption.
“Mr. Williams appeared on his own today as we requested and he was released on his own recognizance.
Williams, once a so-called rising star in the city’s political circles, is accused of taking more than $100,000 in gifts and vacations in exchange for his official action. He is accused of bribery, extortion, and wire and honest services fraud.
Williams is now under the supervision of pre-trial services of the United States federal courts. He was ordered to surrender his passport, have his travel restricted and told not to have any firearms.
His offenses date back to 2012, when prosecutors claim Williams approached the first of two unidentified business associates.
Over the years, the indictment claims Williams solicited or was offered expensive trips to the Caribbean, vacations, plane tickets, cash, furniture and a luxury convertible.
The FBI said in exchange, Williams offered official action. Court documents show he worked to reduce a jail sentence at the request of a business associate.
It’s also claimed Williams attempted to relax a layer of security at Philadelphia International Airport.
Williams is also accused of defrauding a nursing home. Agents say Williams pocketed Social Security and pension payments from a relative. That money was intended for the unidentified person’s care at a nursing home.
The district attorney has since been asked to resign his office by leading members of his political party, including Mayor Jim Kenney.
Michael Diamondstein represents Williams, and wouldn’t take any questions beyond a statement that suggests they’ll take their chances in court.
“We ask only that this rush to judgment stop and that the public recognizes that this case is going to be tried in a court of law,” he said.