In an unprecedented move, District Attorney Seth Williams has announced his resignation over tweets he posted during a trial involving 14 Occupy Philadelphia activists charged – and later acquitted – of conspiracy and trespassing charges stemming from a November 2011 foreclosure of a Wells Fargo bank branch in Center City.
Williams was not immediately available for comment, although a formal press conference is expected shortly, according to a press release issued by his office this morning.
According to numerous sources inside the DA’s office, Williams has been “despondent” while “grappling with clear indiscretion” connected to his remarks involving the trial.
“He’s realized he cannot continue as a public servant knowing how he’s clearly wasted taxpayer money on such small fish,” added one staffer, alluding to the 12 defendants.
Williams posted Twitter commentary on the “Wells Fargo 14” trial throughout the week-long proceedings, a decision which some in the legal community, who prefer anonymity, deemed “at best inappropriate.”
The DA’s decision to criticize the defendants’ choice – and legal right – to bring their case before a jury is especially curious considering Williams’ unwillingness to bring charges against Wells Fargo, a financial institution with a well-documented history of predatory lending – according to the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission – as well as a propensity for tax-dodging and its unchecked siphoning of more than $90 million from the Philadelphia School District.
Philadelphia City Council has condemned Wells Fargo’s swap deals with the school district, a practice public education advocates have called “outright theft.”
26 Philadelphia public schools were slated for closure this month by Governor Corbett’s self-appointed School Reform Commission, or SRC.
When asked what the DA will do after leaving office, a close aide to Williams said: “He’s confident he can find a terrific executive position in Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s company.”
We at The Declaration wish all of you a very happy April Fool’s Day.