Despite his expressed desire for a speedy resolution to the matter, the judge overseeing Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams' federal bribery and corruption case on Friday postponed the trial until next month.
U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond set a June 19 trial date — 2½ weeks later than the May 31 date he set last month, arguing that it was in the public's interest to have the case resolved sooner rather than later.
The judge's decision came after a joint motion from prosecutors and Williams' defense that they needed more time to file and argue pretrial motions. The joint request came after prosecutors filed an additional set of charges against the district attorney Tuesday.
Diamond had set an unusually aggressive schedule for bringing the case against the embattled district attorney before a jury. In an order issued April 11, he chided prosecutors, who had sought more time to prepare their case, and said they should have been ready from the moment they indicted the district attorney.
Recent high-profile corruption cases involving elected officials ranging from former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah to ex-State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo took nearly a year to develop from indictment to trial date. Diamond hoped to shorten that process for Williams to a span of 10 weeks.
"I am hard-pressed to think of a case where the public's right to a speedy trial is more pressing than it is here," the judge wrote in the April 11 order. "The largest prosecutor's office in the commonwealth is being run by someone who is not licensed to practice law and is himself charged with 23 federal crimes."
Until this week, Williams' lawyer, Thomas Burke, had maintained he would be ready by the May 31 trial date.
Williams is accused of misspending nearly $10,000 of campaign donations on personal expenses including massages, facials, and fancy dinners, as well as accepting gifts worth thousands of dollars from two wealthy businessmen seeking his assistance with their legal woes.
In addition, prosecutors allege he stole $20,000 meant to pay for his mother's nursing home care to cover his mortgage and electricity bills.
Williams, 50, has denied any wrongdoing but announced before his indictment March 21 that he did not intend to run for reelection in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Although he agreed to a suspension of his law license while he remains under indictment, Williams has vowed to stay in his post until the end of his term in January.