Tuesday, October 24, 2017

For Rufus Seth Williams, No Last Visit With Mom

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The judge wouldn't even let him out of jail to see Mom.

Today in court, Judge Paul S. Diamond ripped former Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams a new one before shipping him off to jail for five years.

"You sold yourself to the parasites you surrounded yourself with," the judge blasted Williams during a sentencing hearing. The judge talked about "your profound dishonesty," and told the city's former top law enforcement officer, "I simply don't find you credible."

This was while the judge was declaring Williams a flight risk, and saying he couldn't take a chance of letting Williams out of jail. So the former D.A. could stay at his ex-wife's house, at the request of his lawyers, where he was going to see his ailing 85-year-old Mom one last time.

"The defendant stole from his mother," the judge asked incredulously, "and now he wants to see her?" The judge thought that demand was "so outrageous," he said from the bench, that he didn't think there were words in the English language sufficient to express how outrageous it was. The judge even ripped Williams' prepared statement, as read in court by his lawyer, by saying it "sounded like a campaign speech." Ouch.

No, our sad sack of a D.A., who got through life by conning the gullible, including most of the reporters in this town, finally ran into somebody who wasn't buying it -- an angry Judge Diamond. Williams is lucky the plea bargain he agreed to didn't give the judge a chance to give Williams more time in jail. Because this judge surely would have been happy to do so.

Williams, wearing a tan short-sleeve shirt, sweatpants and sneakers, showed up in court some 25 pounds lighter after a nearly four-month stay in solitary confinement. The former D.A. used to go in for deep-tissue massages and deep-pore facials at the Union League and Sporting Club, as paid for by his political action committee. But he's been roughing it of late at the Special Housing Unit at Seventh and Market.

At the "SHU," where he's being held for his own protection, they only let him out of his 8x10 cell one hour a day, and he only gets to make one phone call a month.

At the defense table, Williams, ever the drama queen, was dabbing his eyes to wipe away the tears while his lawyer, Tom Burke, read a statement from Williams' ex-wife Sonita.

According to Williams' ex, the two remain close "despite our divorce."

"Seth is a good man," his ex-wife said, even though he was a "flawed man who made flawed decisions."

"Seth has lost everything," his ex-wife pleaded with the judge, as Williams, right on cue, was dabbing  his eyes, and reaching for the tissues. But the judge wasn't going along with Sonita Williams' plea to let her ex out of jail so he could spend time with his daughters and his Mom, before going off to prison.

Next, Burke, Williams' lawyer, talked about the "long hours, low pay and heavy workload" that Williams endured as an assistant district attorney.

In pleading for mercy, Burke talked about the "great strides that he [Williams] made to improve the [D.A.'s] office," his "nearly 20 years of military service" in the U.S. Army and National Guard, and his "long service to the Catholic Church."

But Burke lost my sympathy when he talked about Williams' "courage in taking on the Catholic Church" in the D.A.'s crusade against sex abuse.

If there were any justice in our brazenly corrupt city, a special prosecutor would be investigating how Williams and a few of his prosecutors knowingly put a fraudulent sex abuse victim, Billy Doe AKA Danny Gallagher, on the witness stand to stage a witch hunt against the church, a witch hunt that put four men in jail for a string of phony rapes dreamed up by a junkie without a conscience.

The special prosecutor would also be looking into how the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams hooked Gallagher up with a civil lawyer, so he could sue the Catholic Church, and steal $5 million in a civil settlement, for imaginary pain and suffering.

And the special prosecutor would also be looking into whether anybody from the D.A.'s office got a kickback from that stolen $5 million.

Sorry, Mr. Burke, but it wasn't courage that prompted Rufus Seth Williams to use a phony witness to stage a witch hunt, it was a lust for headlines. And the arrogance of somebody who says the law means whatever I say it means.

In pleading for mercy, Burke mentioned that Williams would be "virtually penniless" and without his law license, which was revoked last week, when he gets out of jail.

Burke then read a prepared statement from the defendant.

In his statement, which he didn't have the guts to read himself, Williams talked about his "mistakes of character and judgment."

Completely lacking both, Williams jumped to his former distinction as the city's first African-American D.A., and then he mentioned, "I squandered that trust placed in me."

"I have failed them," he said about his supporters. And he talked about "the shame I brought to the office I loved," and how much he had hurt his ex-wife, and his girlfriend.

Next up was Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer, who said that Williams didn't deserve any credit, at least at sentencing, for the good things he did while in office. Instead, Zauzmer asked the judge to remember the "devastating effect" Williams' corruption had on the men and women left at the D.A.'s office.

"He is a criminal," Zauzmer said. "And he was a criminal for a long period of time."

The prosecutor talked about how Williams used to take SUVs set aside for drug investigations and routinely use them day after day, year after year, as his own personal vehicles, for going on vacations, sporting around town, etc.

As D.A., Williams earned between $170,000 and $200,000 a year, Zauzmer said, and yet, "It wasn't good enough for Mr. Williams. He just wants more."

More, both the prosecutor and judge noted, involved stealing $23,000 intended for his mother's care in a Catholic nursing home.

After the oratory was over, the judge sentenced Williams to five years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release, also known as probation. Williams also has to pay $58,422 in restitution.

The judge did not impose a fine on Williams, because he noted the deadbeat defendant, who also couldn't pay his lawyers, was dead broke.

And then it was time to slap the cuffs back on Williams, and lead him off to solitary confinement, while he awaits a permanent prison assignment for the next five years of his life.

Outside the courthouse, defense lawyer Burke said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the judge's decision to not allow Williams to see his mother.

"Yeah, we're a little disappointed at that," Burke said, adding that he had implored the judge to allow the visit for Mom's sake, who has already forgiven her son, and not for sonny boy's.

But Zauzmer said the judge made the right decision, because he had determined that Williams wasn't credible, and that he posed a flight risk.


  1. Seth Williams should serve the five year term in a prison much like the Hanoi Hilton in solitary confinement.

  2. Ralph - can you fill us in on the status of Msgr Lynn and Mr Shero's case? Does Fr Englehardt ever get a chance to have his reputation cleared? Is Rufus the first pin to fall? Thanks for providing coverage of this - found no where else

    1. Msgr. Lynn's case is supposed to be retried next year unless a new D.A. pulls the plug on this disaster.

      Father Engelhardt's legal case died when he did. To date, neither his religious order nor his family has made any appeals to clear his name.

      Shero cut a deal and is out of jail nearly a dozen years early, but he has to carry the stigma of a sex offender. Even though the story that sent him to jail was completely made up. And don't take my word for it.

      That's the conclusion of the D.A.'s own lead detective in the case, as chronicled on this blog.

    2. I have some update for Anonymous 8:05

      Shero's case is concluded, right before Ceisler was to rule on a new trial for Shero (most likely in shero's favor I might add), the DA made a surprising deal that negated the remaining 11 1/2 years of his sentence knowing that Detective Joe Walsh's recent testimony about the District Attorney's intentional withholding of exculpatory evidence prior to those original trials years ago would probably result in a new trial, and an opportunity for all of those wrongly accused and convicted men to clear their names.

      Shero did have to plead no contest to gain his freedom, but that's a no brainer, potentially serve another 11 1/2 years in prison for a crime he never committed against Danny Gallagher or be home with his family.....

      not sure what is going on with Msgr Lynn's situation, I thought that was still headed for a retrial...
      and I agree, someone should be using the Joe Walsh testimony to clear Fr Engelhardt's name.....

      as for Seth, he'll be looking over his shoulder for the next 5 years (especially in the shower) as he will be among some of the same type of criminals that he helped convict while in the DA's office...

      KARMA IS A BITCH.....Payback time.....

    3. Thank you Ralph & Anonymous 11:03 - appreciate the updates
      The Inquirer is running a Special Report and accompanying articles on James Brzyski this Sunday. They are already posted on philly.com
      When I emailed the "reporter" Maria Panaritis about when the Inquirer was going to investigate the DAs office and Joe Walsh's testimony - I got crickets - nothing

    4. The reporter and her editors see this story one way: predator priests versus helpless exploited victims.

      It's hard to ignore the Billy Doe story as it unravels, but they are doing a terrific job. However, some national publicity about Mr. Doe and Mr. Rufus is headed their way.

    5. Ralph: when might we expect that national publicity?

      also, do you think the new DA, whomever that might be (probably Krasner) will rethink the Lynn retrial that the current regime would most likely pursue...

      Joe Walsh's testimony and all of those court transcripts that followed including the ruling that his investigation withheld from those defense attorney(s) was "exculpatory evidence" should be sent directly to the Attorney General's office of this country as an indication of the rule of law as practiced by one of the newest members of the Federal Prison System, Rufus Seth Williams while he held court at that corrupt DA's office....innocent men put in prison

      Historic prosecution my ass...shame on the archdiocese for buying that drug addict off on the eve of those civil trials...

  3. Seth Williams should serve the five year term in a prison much like the Hanoi Hilton in solitary confinement.

  4. What a scumbag, here's an individual who would steal from his own mother to feed his lavish lifestyle and womanizing...don't you just love this judge who saw thru all of his bullshit.....he didn't even have the guts to read his own statement (allegedly his own) , which the judge described as a "campaign speech"

    there's still plenty of names associated with that malicious prosecution of Fr. Lynn, Fr Engelhardt and Bernard Shero that should be joining him in the big house......it's clearly evident by the 11 1/2 year waiver by the current DA's office on Shero's remaining prison sentence that Detective Joe Walsh's recent testimony in Ceisler's courtroom earlier this year about the withheld evidence during his investigation in the above case should be something for the feds to consider

    ...3 innocent men went to jail, including one innocent priest who died in jail on a fraudulent sexual abuse case involving danny Gallagher.....and Seth Williams orchestrated that travesty

    getting back to the main perpetrator of that fraudulent abuse case, they'll be no cigars or top shelf liquor for him in prison....

    he deserves to serve every minute of his sentence and some for all of the crimes he's committed and the shameful harm he's caused to those innocent men and to the families of those innocent men in the Danny Gallagher Archdiocese case

    1. As citizens of this great country, we should all be guaranteed the right to a fair trial on a level playing field, with a prosecutor that is seeking justice as opposed to a notch in his or her belt. The Attorney General has an obligation to make sure this happens and to protect the citizens from a zealous prosecutor who does not abide by the rules. The Courts must step in when necessary to insure we citizens are afforded our rights. The only answer that I see is to severely punish those in the government that violate these rules. A slap on the wrist, a reprimand by a Judge, a "don't let it happen again" approach DOES NOT work. He/she that is afforded the authority of a prosecutor has unparalleled power and with that they must be held accountable when they violate that power and trust. Who is there to protect us--Congress, the Judiciary, the Jury, our State Representatives--no one, other than the Jury and a few others in select cases are stepping to the plate. Only when the government elite are faced with malicious and unsavory prosecution ( or should I say persecution) by rogue prosecutors and FBI agents will anything get done--but we should not count on it.

  5. I don't agree w/ what Seth did but this judges bias is unsettling.

    1. he ripped off his mother, his mother's friends who gave him money to subsidize his mother's nursing home care, he ripped off the taxpayers the entire time he was in office, he ripped off his campaign contributors, he knowingly orchestrated a fake abuse case back in January 2009 designed to further his now totally destroyed political career putting 4 innocent men in prison including an innocent priest who died in prison chained to a bed

      He deserves everything he's receiving as a result of his greed and gluttony, and he and all the other Asst DA's who participated in that charade of an abuse case involving danny gallagher should be right beside him in prison for what they did...

      as to your remark below about this judge's inability to be impartial, perhaps you should have been in the courtrooms of exJudge Hughes along with Judges Sarmina and Ceisler during the witchhunt against those innocent men that were prosecuted and wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the most recent Archdiocese trials....all at the direction of one Rufus Seth Williams....

      Everything that judge uttered was accurate and to the point, Seth Williams is nothing but a criminal, he ran the DA's office like a criminal and he now sits in federal detention under lock and key where he belongs......

  6. Let me make clear-
    What Seth did to the priests was wrong- I am generally speaking about this judge's inability to be impartial is troubling.

    1. Impartiality? After Seth stole all that money set up for his mother's care? Are you kidding?

    2. Doesn't matter. The judge isn't the victim in this case.

  7. Ralph,
    Did the DA's object to Seth seeing his mother and say he was a flight risk or did the judge just say that?

    1. The prosecutors in this federal case were assistant U.S. Attorneys and they had no objections to Seth visiting his mother.

  8. It is nice to see a writer interact with the people who read their work.

    Thanks Ralphie,

  9. The US government finally got around to declaring war on the opioid epidemic. As we are all aware the crisis has ravaged families, it has been responsible for countless deaths, ruined lives,produced prolonged jail time sentences, displaced children, as well as leaving them at a higher risk for abuse. Drugs used properly can be life giving and life sustaining, used improperly they have the opposite action.

    Just as the drug companies have deep pockets ,seemingly exempting from fault, while making it impossible to take action against them, generations are being lost while we are reacting to this scourge.

    We need a similar investment in our people by doing something about prosecutorial misconduct, overreach and the outright abuse of power by the justice department's many pronged tentacles . Just as the drug companies are a formidable adversary, so is the justice department.

    Reputations are lost,life savings vanish,families are fractured and good people suffer as a result of abuse on the part of prosecutors. Americans are a risk everyday, all on the whim of a lawyer hired by the government.

    Must we wait for it to affect us personally, like the drug epidemic, before we become involved and call for a remedy or action to be taken.

    How many more innocents go to jail for non existent crimes, countless lives are impacted by useless incarnations, used with discretion and honesty the justice department works, used as a tool for self improvement it is a failing system which is failing on a grand scale.

    Abuse is epidemic and being overlooked by mainstream media which looks to the prosecution as a competent news source.

    Seths abuse of power is systemic, he is but a cog in the wheel, a greedy cog, but just a cog. He was allowed to prey upon the innocent like a drug dealer recruiting new victims, sadly he is not being punished for his abuse of power but for his abuse of money and campaign funds. We have not learned anything from his fall from power.

    Just as an addict and their families feels shame and are shamed by society, victims of prosecutorial abuse suffer, many very publicly for their entire lifetimes.

    Pure and simple, it's torture and abuse, legalized abuse of citizens by the justice department, with almost none or very little recourse when the abuse is at the hands of a prosecutor. Victims must go on with their lives while the offending prosecutors receive promotions and accolades for their crimes.

    Victims and their families suffer emotionally and financially for their entire lives. The media owes it to these victims to set the record straight, to help make amends for their using the prosecution as a source of facts , when facts are made know to them of this abuse they must act.

    1. To Anon Oct. 30, 1:39

      Yes, you say it well. The abuse of the innocent in this country is epidemic by our third-world "justice" system. Unfortunately, mainstream media is not "overlooking" any of this abuse of human rights in America. "Overlooking" implies that there is an error due to oversight. There is no error made by the mainstream media when it comes to protecting the innocent. They don't mistakenly print the lies that their employers (corrupt government) want them to print. They intentionally participate in the undermining of our Constitutional protections. They are now complicit with our illegitimate government in ignoring targeted individual's Constitutional rights.

      Sixteen years later, we can easily see there are so many holes in the mainstream media's 9/11 narrative. And so it's my belief that their "official" story of who, how, and why must be discounted as a grand lie. And since our third-world government is using "our" media as theirs for telling lies, then it stands to reason that the mainstream media and the so-called government are the same corrupt entity.

      After the 9/11 coup, Josh Shapiro, Ken Frazier, Joe Biden, Hillary, Sanders, Trump and Obama---the whole lot of them seen in the media's circus---are willing participants in the grand deception.

  10. To expand on the word "overlooking" I fear the journalist who are given information from prosecutors must not be able to make the distinction between what the prosecution is reporting is just their version of what they assume happened or what they have pieced together from witnesses that have been threatened with jail time, who will do or say anything to stay out of jail.

    Prosecutors have a stake in winning, that fact can not be overlooked, they don't do it because it goods for society, a win is good for their careers.

    As it appears the Inky is running more articles on the horrors of the justice system,as well as wrongful convictions, hopefully they will decided that the articles they are running about a perceived crime, given to them by a prosecutor, can be dead wrong as well.

    Reporters have to get rid of preconceived ideas before they write, it's nothing less than discrimination on their part using old facts to condemn new defendants. Defendants deserve the right to not be condemned by reporters who assume they have the facts correct.

    News moves at an increasingly faster and faster pace,using "credible" sources helps to get the story out in print. Taking the prosecution's words and using them as truths is damaging to a defendant who may go to trial or is forced to plead guilty due to negative press.

    Pleading guilty is the desired outcome of the prosecution. Words matter, they matter to the defendant, their families and their communities.

    I have come to realize that the journalist truly believe what they are writing is the truth, what they need to know is that the prosecution's cases can and are usually flawed.Upon closer examination, most of their facts to not add up. They play on the the public's perception of a defendant using the very tired expression " scheme" countless times to conjure up loathing for the defendant.

    The government gets 10 points just for being the government, I myself had a hard time believing that the government would lie, what reason would they have to bend the truth. Except they do, they are so intent on finding fault that the truth is dismissed, dismembered and suppressed.

    Their version is all that finds its way to the public forum leaving the defendants abandoned, left to face a lifetime lie.

    The public is under the impression that the journalist did extensive investigating , which is not correct in most instances, they ran with the prosecution's version. They just did not care enough to get the imfornation right or were overwhelmed by the a mountain of "facts", which is what the government is good a doing.

    There is no excuse not to correct the facts once they become known, this is what is making the great divide between those accused of crimes and the accusers. The Inky is responsible for creating most of the controversy in the region when it comes to the justice department. Sitting on a perch and preaching make the Inky seem cold and uncaring to human suffering.

    Turning their backs on the truth undermines their original noble intention of rooting out crime and corruption. No one is above the law, especially reporters, who should not be doling out opinions on a person's innocence or guilt.


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