In a surprise move, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams entered a guilty plea June 29 to a single count of bribery and will resign his post as the city's top law-enforcement official.
The guilty plea came during the second week of Williams' federal corruption trial, which spotlighted much alleged wrongdoing on his part.
Williams faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Oct. 24 by U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond. Meanwhile, he'll remain in the custody of federal authorities.
In a statement, Kathleen Martin, first assistant for the D.A.'s Office, said the office "embodies the phrase that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The assistant district attorneys and professional staff of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office are among the finest in the country. Throughout this unfortunate period, they continued to display the diligence, fortitude and integrity that has historically been a hallmark of the office. I could not be more proud of how my hardworking colleagues have conducted themselves in light of the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Williams, and now with the conclusion of this case, Philadelphians should know that their District Attorney’s Office continues the pursuit of justice and the hope for a safer city endures."
Martin is expected to take the lead at the office, unless an interim D.A. is appointed by the Court of Common Pleas. Democrat Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman will vie for the title in November's general election.
Prior to his guilty plea, Williams faced 29 counts relating to bribery, extortion and honest services fraud. His alleged felonious activity includes misuse of campaign funds and diverting for his personal use funds that were supposed to cover his mother's nursing-home costs.
For two days this week, Williams' interactions with LGBT business owner Michael Weiss came under scrutiny by a 12-member jury.
According to federal prosecutors, Weiss lavished many expensive gifts on Williams from 2012-15. In return, Williams allegedly performed favors for Weiss relating to Weiss' various legal problems.
Weiss co-owns Woody's Bar, a popular LGBT venue in the Gayborhood.
Prosecutors say Weiss gave Williams a used Jaguar, cash payments and trips to vacation spots. In return, Williams appointed Wei
ss as "special advisor" to the D.A.'s Office, helped Weiss obtain a police accident report for a friend and sent letters on behalf of Weiss relating to Weiss' tax problems.
Williams even let Weiss and his boyfriend drive a city-owned vehicle a short distance in New Jersey, while the two men attended a party in Wildwood, according to prosecutors.
Weiss testified under a grant of immunity and denied giving any bribes to Williams. "I don't believe I bribed anybody," Weiss told jurors.
Weiss isn't charged with any criminal wrongdoing in the Williams case.
But in 2010, Weiss pleaded guilty to "corruptly endeavoring to impede the due administration of the federal tax code," stemming from his involvement with the Palmer Social Club, an after-hours club on Spring Garden Street.
Weiss was sentenced to three-years' probation and fined $30,000. The social club was fined $562,063.04.