CENTER CITY (WTXF) - Public pressure appears to be building to force embattled Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams from office.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has already called on Williams to leave office. On Monday morning, a handful of Black Lives Matter protesters kicked off the work week by blocking traffic in the street in front of Williams’ Center City office.
"Seth Williams, you've committed a crime!” they chanted through bullhorns. “Seth Williams, you must resign!"
Group spokesman Asa Khalif was blunt in his demands, “What you're going to do is get the heck out of here and get the heck out of this office. You've corrupted this office. You've tainted this office long enough."
Williams spent last Wednesday on the wrong side of the courtroom, after a federal grand jury hit him with a 23-count indictment alleging the second-term DA accepted bribes to help friends with legal troubles. He was even charged with diverting money meant for his own adopted mother.
"We believe he should resign," said Deborah Gross, the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Gross told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon that the association has fielded numerous phone calls over the past several days from citizens who, in the wake of the Williams indictment, now believe they didn’t get a fair shake from the district attorney’s office.
Williams has already admitted to ethics violations-- belatedly reporting $175,000 worth of gifts while in office.
Al Taubenberger sits on City Council's Public Safety committee.
"The charges against him are large, and he is our chief law enforcement officer," Taubenberber told FOX 29's Gordon. So, “I think, (from) what I've heard—now, this is a final decision HE must make-- I think he should go."
It is Williams’ call. He cannot be removed from office unless and until he is convicted and sentenced. But the head of the good-government Committee of 70 believes public pressure can turn up the heat on the DA and his Democratic party.
"Political pressure works,” said David Thornburgh. “And I think that what he and others in the Democratic party are going to have to assess (is) whether this will create enough of a backlash to threaten their hold on this office.”
In a written statement, Williams’ office notes he “continues to be the elected DA for the city of Philadelphia,”
and ignores calls for his resignation. It’s worth noting that the district attorney has acknowledged having money troubles. Resign now, and he’d be without a salary. Stay on through his successor’s swearing-in next January, and Williams would have an extra $130,000 or so in salary with which to pay his legal and other bills.