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March 27, 2017

Black Lives Matter rallies at City Hall as pressure mounts for Williams to resign

Groups from both sides of the political spectrum are stepping up efforts to shame Philadelphia's maligned top prosecutor into vacating his office.

Demonstrators gathered Monday morning in Center City in front of District Attorney Seth Williams' office to call for his resignation. Williams, 50, was indicted last week on 23 federal corruption charges, including bribery, extortion and wire fraud.

The "Rallying for a Resignation: Ruthless Seth Williams Must Go" rally, which began around 8:45 a.m., has been organized by Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania and invites "outraged" and "disillusioned" city residents to pressure Williams to resign from his post.

The group has long been critical of the D.A.'s job performance, asserting members "expressed no confidence in Mr. Williams in 2013 after his office imprisoned a wrongfully accused teen and ignored the presented evidence that cleared his name."

Meanwhile, Williams denies any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty in court. He was released on $50,000 bail.

Numerous high-profile officials have also called for Williams' resignation, including Mayor Jim Kenney, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby and all Democratic candidates vying for the party's nomination in the D.A.'s race.

Williams is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for official acts. Authorities said gifts included cash, trips, cars and more.

In January, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics fined Williams $62,000 for failing to disclose $160,000 in gifts and sources of income. It was the largest penalty ever imposed by the board.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.