PHILADELPHIA — A former co-worker plans to run against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams in the Democratic primary.
Joe Khan told Philly.com he’s running because Williams has “lost his way.” The news outlet reported Khan’s plans Thursday.
“He was someone who actually had some good ideas,” Khan said. “That person who came into office seven years ago is a very different person today.”
Williams was elected Philadelphia’s first black district attorney in 2009 and is running for a third four-year term next year. Khan and Williams previously worked together as assistant Philadelphia district attorneys. Khan left the position in 2006 to become an assistant federal prosecutor.
Khan, 41, a married father of two young children, said he wants to restore integrity to the office, as federal investigators have looked into Williams’ personal and political finances.
Federal investigators are known to have subpoenaed the records of the Second Chance Foundation, a charity founded by Williams, and Williams’ campaign records. Last month, Williams amended his financial disclosure forms to report having received $160,050 in previously undisclosed gifts from 2010 to 2015. Williams hasn’t been charged with a crime and hasn’t directly commented about the subpoenaed records.
Williams’ campaign spokesman, Dan Fee, said “integrity is central” to the district attorney’s work and approach to his job.
“He looks forward to discussing his record and agenda for a third term with whoever decides to run,” Fee said in an email.
Khan resigned as assistant federal prosecutor on Sept. 6, and his wife, Jessica, recently left her job as an appellate attorney in Williams’ office so Khan could run against the district attorney, Khan said.
Khan’s work as a federal prosecutor included public corruption investigations in Allentown and Reading that resulted in multiple convictions.
“I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish while we were there,” Khan said.
Khan suggested Williams’ problems start with the man himself.
“What I have heard from all corners in the criminal justice system is that this is not a district attorney who encourages people to challenge his thinking,” Khan said. “If you want to run a bad district attorney’s office, the best way is to hire a bunch of yes-men or to govern by fear.”
Fee insisted Williams routinely consults with experts and others before making decisions.
“It’s an oddity of life: Some people who don’t get their way confuse that with not being listened to,” Fee wrote.
This story has been corrected to show Khan left the Philadelphia district attorney’s office to become a federal prosecutor, not Williams.