After indictment, Williams faces sharp criticism

Facing charges: DA Seth Williams was indicted last week on federal corruption charges. TIMES FILE PHOTO

By Tom Waring

District attorney candidates Rich Negrin, Joe Khan and Beth Grossman sharply criticized DA Seth Williams, who was indicted on federal corruption charges.

Negrin, a former city managing director, called for Williams to resign.

“As I’ve said before, I had high hopes for Seth when he was first elected, as so many in the city did, but those high hopes were not met. It’s a sad day when someone with such promise is brought down by bad decisions. Resigning now would allow the city and the district attorney’s office to move forward,” he said.

Joe Khan, who is also seeking the Democratic nod for DA, called for Williams to immediately step down because of his alleged crimes.

“The fact remains that Philadelphia doesn’t need a new DA only because Seth Williams is corrupt. I announced my campaign long before Seth Williams announced his retirement, because our criminal justice system is broken,” he said.

Grossman, the only Republican candidate, put out a news release declaring that there is an unbroken stream of corruption that flows through various offices in Philadelphia.

“Since 2013, numerous Philadelphia judges and state representatives have been convicted of crimes arising out of their official duties. They are all Democrats, as is Seth Williams,” the release said. “It is clear that a one-party system within our city has led to such complacent corruption that it has become the norm. Voters should not tolerate corruption in defense of his or her political party. Philadelphians deserve better. It begs the question — don’t you want better? It is time for political balance in Philadelphia.”

Michael Untermeyer, a former assistant district attorney and senior deputy attorney general, described the indictment as “a sad day for our city.”

“Seth Williams ran on reforming the criminal justice system. Though there has been some movement in that direction, Philadelphia still has one of the most dysfunctional criminal justice systems in the country,” he said.

Tariq Karim El-Shabazz, who served under Williams as first assistant and deputy chief for investigations, said he’ll trust the justice system to determine the validity of the charges.

“I offer my thoughts and prayers to District Attorney Williams and his family, particularly his daughters,” he said.

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Khan was endorsed by Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who battled with Donald Trump during the presidential race.

In a statement on the online publishing platform Medium, Khizr Khan said it remains important to support local leaders who will stand up for ideals.

“That’s why I’m proud to support Joe Khan, a Democrat running for District Attorney in Philadelphia — the same city where I made my plea to Donald Trump to honor our Constitution,” he said.

Joe Khan is the son of a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan. His father studied engineering, and then worked as a city engineer. He engineered the public transit line from downtown to the airport, “the very same transit line that his son would ride to the airport to protest Trump’s disgraceful Muslim ban.”

Khizr Khan described Joe Khan a progressive who studied law at the University of Chicago under Barack Obama and worked on Obama’s first run for Congress.

“Joe will resist the Trump administration by giving a voice to the voiceless. He will block any cooperation with Trump’s deportation forces, and will be a fierce advocate for liberty and equality for all, regardless of race or religion. As Pennsylvania’s first ever Pakistani-American District Attorney, Joe will be a powerful reminder that our nation of immigrants is stronger when we embrace our shared values of tolerance and compassion. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Joe Khan, and send a message to Donald Trump that we won’t give up the values that made America great without a fight.”

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Republican Mike Tomlinson will formally announce his candidacy for city controller during a town hall on Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at Holmesburg Recreation Center, Rhawn and Ditman streets.

Also attending will be Beth Grossman, the GOP candidate for district attorney, and Robert Mansfield, a retired U.S. Army sergeant and former candidate for Congress.

Tomlinson has been a CPA, teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth sports coach and member of Town Watch, Holmesburg Civic Association and the Friends of Holmesburg Library. ••