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April 05, 2017

Rendell backs Joe Khan for Democratic nomination in Philly D.A.'s race

The day voters determine the parties' candidates vying to be the next district attorney of Philadelphia is rapidly approaching, but a major endorsement was revealed this week.

On Wednesday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced his support of Joe Khan for the Democratic nomination in the race to become the city's next top prosecutor. Khan is a former prosecutor in the city's D.A.'s office and U.S. District Court.

Rendell, who served as the city's district attorney from 1978 to 1986 before becoming mayor from 1992 to 2000, made his endorsement of Khan at a press conference inside City Hall.

"[Khan's] position on criminal justice provides an excellent balance between the need to reform the system and the need for that system to remain strong so it can punish violent offenders and remove them from our streets," Rendell said.

Khan is one of seven names on the ballot for the Democratic nod. The other candidates are former state prosecutor Mike Untermeyer, former Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, civil rights attorney Lawrence Krasner, and former assistant district attorneys Tariq El-Shabazz and Jack O’Neill.

Current District Attorney Seth Williams declined to run for a third term after he was fined in January by the city's Ethics Board for failing to disclose $160,000 in gifts and sources of income. Williams was later indicted on corruption charges and had his law license suspended.

Referring to Williams' ongoing problems, Rendell noted that the office is "currently in crisis" but claims Khan can lead the city in a new direction.

"I believe we need a well-seasoned prosecutor with unquestioned integrity and a record of taking on every kind of tough case," Rendell said.

While serving in the D.A.'s office as a prosecutor, Khan specialized in cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16.