DA Candidates react to Seth Williams' withdrawal
Seth Williams announced today that he will not be running for Philadelphia District Attorney.
Williams was first elected in 2009 and current runner's express it was the excitement of having the first black district attorney that made the election an easy win for Williams. And though his star quickly rose, his tenure as DA has been rife with scandal and investigation.
Though his most notable scandal has been the recent record fine in the amount of $62,000, Williams has also ben under federal investigation by the FBI in 2015 and received other pushback.
No stranger to controversy, Williams is also has been under ridicule due to improperly disclosing 89 gifts and 5 sources of income up to 2015.
“Seth Williams' decision not to seek re-election is in the best interest of the District Attorney's Office. He is to be commended for this decision. It is time to choose a DA who shares our values on criminal justice reform,” Krasner said.
Another contender, Teresa Carr Deni, who has continued to face pushback over her decision in handling the rape case of a prostitute in which she charged the men for theft of services in a decision the Philadelphia Bar Association called "a gross miscarriage of justice."
But Deni stated that Williams' success was based on race, "I could see there was great enthusiasm for the first African American district attorney," said Deni, in an Inquirer interview. "So I stayed put. But now I think there could be a different attitude toward his candidacy. And, frankly, a positive attitude toward mine."
Joseph Khan is also a newer contender to DA race and has expressed that he has a long list he wants to implement as the new DA.
He said of Williams' departure, "This decision allows us to move on from the scandals plaguing the District Attorney's office and gives the people of Philadelphia the opportunity they deserve to have a real discussion about the important issues facing the city, from reducing gun-violence to addressing criminal justice reform," said in a statement Khan.
Though if you ask Khan what his agenda is his list is ever growing. He told Philadelphia Magazine, "I would substantially increase the level of resources being allocated to combatting sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence. It’s deplorable how little support the attorneys in those types of cases are getting."
But his most recent statement said, “I will work with the Mayor and Police Commissioner to ensure that unconstitutional stop and frisk policies become a thing of the past and that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city and a welcoming city where every resident is treated fairly. Now more than ever our city needs effective leadership in the D.A.’s office to keep our city safe and to protect our citizens from the overreaching of the Trump administration.”
Beth Grossman, one of the more notable republican candidates for DA shared her statments on the issue stating, "What is crucial going forward now, however, is that Williams is just one of a long line of recent ethically, and sometimes criminally, beleaguered Democratic public officials."
She stated that she thinks it is a sign of the Democratic party's establishment in the city, "It is time for change. It is time for a Republican candidate, with more prosecutorial experience than any other candidate, and the independence of being outside the Democratic machine, to restore integrity to the District Attorney’s Office and political balance to Philadelphia. I am that candidate," stated Grossman.
"I was among those who were optimistic when he took office, but those expectations were not met and his ethical and legal troubles have become a distraction to the office. The hard-working attorneys and staff deserve to be led by someone who puts a premium on criminal justice reform, integrity, innovation, and community service. I believe the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia should be a national model for progressive policies, professionalism and public safety. That’s why I’m running. I look forward to bringing my passion and experience into the office so we can move forward and do great things for this city. These problems will soon be history as we usher in a new era of excellence into what should be the best District Attorney's Office in the country," stated Negrin.