Tuesday afternoon outside the federal courthouse in Center City Philadelphia was the closest I stood to the District Attorney since earlier this month when we both were at City Hall for a public hearing on body cameras. Mr. Seth Williams, who hadn’t then been indicted on 23 counts of corruption, sat maybe a foot from where I stood; he spoke to me, and I spoke back.
Mr. Williams that day mingled with other public officials, particularly Transit Police Chief Mr. Tom Nestel. I overheard the two talking about the complexities of body camera technology and policy. When it came Mr. Williams’ turn to testify, he introduced himself for the record and he was all-smiles.
That same smile appeared on Mr. Williams’ face a week or so later when he was arraigned in federal court. I remarked in print then of his body language: he oozed confidence and appeared self-assured, as if the mountain of evidence gathered by the United States government was actually a molehill he could leap over.
But a week later, when Mr. Williams was again at federal court for a hearing about his legal representation – he can’t afford an attorney but promised to find one by this Friday, and if he doesn’t, Judge Timothy Rice told him “that could be a big problem for you” – and I aggressively approached him demanding to know why he hadn’t resigned, the puffed up chest was deflated; the bright smile had dimmed, and his eyes were void of much motion; he mainly stared off into space; Mr. Williams was, by my estimation, in shock.
It seems that the severity of the situation – the Unites States of America v. Seth Williams, as the indictment reads – has begun to hit the embattled District Attorney and it’s no laughing matter, he now realizes.
The public learned yesterday that among the federal government’s evidence are 300,000 emails and 200 witness statements. Mr. Williams maintains his innocence, and is resisting calls for his resignation, while the federal government is letting the indictment, which alleges the District Attorney stood ready to perform official actions in return for gifts of all kinds, speak for itself.
Those businessmen who are said to have given Mr. Williams gifts have already testified before a grand jury, and Business Owner #2, who was identified as Mr. Michael Weiss, the proprietor of the gay club Woody’s, has recently resigned from the board of Mazzoni Center.
Though there are few in the City that say Mr. Williams shouldn’t resign because he hasn’t been proven guilty, no one is standing with him and publicly declaring his innocence. Mr. Williams isn’t just the proverbial man without a country; he’s a man versus his country without a city.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo courtesy of the author.