Federal Bureau of Investigation

Amid Ethics Controversy, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams Won't Seek Reelection

Amid ethics controversy, 2-term Democrat will step aside at end of year

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced Friday that he would not seek reelection this year as his second term runs out.

The 50-year-old Democrat made the "important announcement" during a Friday morning news conference where he said he showed poor judgment and became a distraction to his office.

"My only goal has been to be a good steward to this office," Williams told gathered reporters. He said he regrets "mistakes in my personal life and in my personal financial life." [[413415093, C]]

Amid an FBI probe into $160,000 worth of gifts he initially failed to report, Williams' character came into question.

"I will spend the balance of my term trying to regain (Philadelphians') trust," Williams said, his voice unsteady. "To each and every employee of the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, I ask again for you to accept my sincere apology that I have let you down."

His announcement came weeks after the Philadelphia Ethics Board doled out a $62,000 fine to Williams for his failure to disclose five sources of income and 89 gifts, the board said. The fine is the largest in the board's 10-year history and includes a first-of-its-kind recovery clause as well, the statement said. [[411138545, C]]

Williams was under investigation by the ethics board since August. He also has reportedly been under investigation by the FBI since September for a charitable foundation in his name.

Williams took no questions about the possibility of facing charges after concluding his remarks, dipping out of the room as reporters shouted questions his way.

Williams' term is up early next year.

Besides his public comments Friday, he also sent a two-page letter to district attorney office employees to "express his gratitude" to his employees: "Each and every accomplishment made is the result of the diligence, commitment and hard work of the men and women with whom I have had the privilege to serve."

In closing, Williams wrote "I ask again for you to accept my sincere apology that I have let you down..."

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