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June 29, 2017

Philly D.A. Seth Williams takes plea deal, to serve up to 5 years in prison

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams – who was in the middle of a trial on federal corruption charges – has accepted a plea deal that will send him to prison for as many as five years.

Williams, 50, resigned immediately – and apologized – after pleading guilty to one count of accepting a bribe. The other 28 counts in the federal indictment – a mix of bribery, extortion and wire fraud charges – have been dismissed.

Williams also agreed to forfeit $64,878.22, according to

The Philadelphia District Attorney's office confirmed Williams would resign in a press release emailed late Thursday morning.

After entering his guilty plea on Thursday, Williams was escorted from the federal courthouse in handcuffs, according to multiple media reports. He will be sentenced on Oct. 24 by U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond.

At a news conference this afternoon, First Assistant District Attorney Kathleen E. Martin said she received an "very early" morning text from Williams about the plea deal. Martin has been running the office essentially for several months.

In the face of the charges against Williams, she said the office "has continued its mission seamlessly" and would continue to do so. She said the office would carry on until a new district attorney is elected. Democrat Larry Krasner will face Republican Beth Grossman in the general election.

Williams had pleaded not guilty to charges that he allegedly accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to help the donors with their legal troubles. His trial in U.S. District Court began earlier this month.

Prosecutors alleged Williams accepted plane tickets, lavish vacations, a Jaguar convertible, furniture and cash in exchange for favors he could grant because of his elected position as district attorney. He also allegedly diverted his mother's pension and Social Security money for his personal use.

Williams, a two-term Democrat, announced in February that he would not seek a third term. But he planned to fulfill the remainder of his second term, which expires at the end of the year.

His announcement came just several weeks after the city's Board of Ethics fined him $62,000 for failing to disclose 89 gifts and five sources of income between 2010 to 2015. The penalty was the largest imposed by the board in its 10-year history.

After being indicted, Williams agreed to suspend his law license. But he refused to step down from his role as district attorney, maintaining his innocence.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.