Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams today announced that a grand jury has been appointed to investigate allegations of corruption against several Pennsylvania legislators.
Williams made the announcement at a press conference at the Ray Harley Training Center at 3 South Penn Square on Wednesday.
The grand jury investigation stems from numerous reports that surfaced in March involving Tyron Ali, a Philadelphia man who allegedly wore a wire and captured evidence of several elected state representatives accepting bribes in exchange for political favors.
“Now normally, I would not even state publicly that a case has been submitted to the grand jury. But because of the unusually high profile of this case, I thought it was essential for the public to understand that I won’t allow it to just disappear, without accountability," William said.
Williams said he was not at liberty to state names or the exact number of officials that the 36 member grand jury will be investigating but said "the investigation is much more expansive than what has been previously reported" and that "there are a lot of people involved."
The DA said he is hopeful that the grand jury will "get to the truth" of the allegations and that its findings will restore the public's faith in the criminal justice system.
"The public has to believe that the criminal justice system is fair, and that it works," Williams said.
"We need to assure them that there's not a separate standard for Pookie and Man-Man selling a couple of vials on the corner and the officials serving in the capital rotunda."
Williams said the audio and video evidence of the alleged corrupt acts is compelling, but declined to offer any opinion on whether he believes any legislators will be convicted for the alleged crimes.
The grand jury will review evidence supplied by the DA's office and may issue a report to the public with recommendations for official action. It may also make direct recommendations for criminal charges against one or more individuals.
No direct time frame for the investigation was given, but Williams says he expects to report results within "months, and not years."