Ex-colleague plans to defend Philadelphia DA's bribery case

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) – A former colleague says he plans to represent Philadelphia's top prosecutor in a federal bribery case despite his client's financial problems.

An irate federal judge has ordered District Attorney Seth Williams to return to court Friday afternoon with a lawyer. He says Williams had plenty of time to prepare for last week's indictment given the long FBI investigation.

Lawyer Thomas Burke said Friday he plans to take the case. He and Williams started together at the prosecutor's office in 1992. Burke said there's no evidence Williams sold his office.

Williams is accused of taking more than $100,000 in cash and gifts in exchange for favors. The two-term Democrat says he got into financial problems after a costly divorce.

Defense lawyer Michael Diamondstein handled Williams' arraignment last week but says he can't take the case without being paid.

Williams has pleaded not guilty. He remains in the $175,000-a-year job.

The city stopped paying for his defense when was indicted.

The grand jury indictment against Williams charges him with more than 20 criminal counts. They include travel and use of interstate facility to promote and facilitate bribery, Hobbs Act extortion, wire fraud, and related charges.  

READ MORE: Seth Williams Federal Indictment

Williams faces 5-20 years if convicted. Federal officials say this was Williams acting alone and the integrity of the DA's office was not impacted.  Williams has been tight-lipped about the probe since spending came under the microscope. He will appear in federal court to face the charges on Wednesday. 

Back in February, Williams announced that he would not seek a third-term in the Democratic primaries this May.

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