District attorney pleads guilty, resigns

Seth Williams resigned as Philadelphia’s district attorney and was led out of court in handcuffs Thursday after abruptly ending his trial on federal bribery charges with a guilty plea.

Williams, who saw details about his messy personal life and financial struggles dragged out into open court during the nearly two-week trial, pleaded guilty to one count related to accepting a bribe from Bucks County businessman Mohammad Ali.

As part of the deal, Williams agreed to resign and acknowledged that he faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 24.

Despite a plea by Williams to remain free until then, U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond ordered him held until sentencing and U.S. Marshals took the prosecutor out of court in handcuffs.

“I have a guilty plea from the highest law officer in the city that he betrayed his office and he sold his office. … I am appalled by the evidence that I heard,” Diamond said before ordering Williams jailed. “I simply do not credit this defendant’s testimony. I do not believe him.”

Asked earlier by Diamond whether he intended to follow through with his resignation,Williams choked up and answered, “Humbly, sincerely and effective immediately.

“I’m just very sorry for all of this, your honor,” Williams said.

— McClatchy-Tribune

Budget crisis stalls lottery ticket sales

Cash-strapped Illinois has begun turning off one of its most lucrative money spigots as a casualty of an unprecedented budget stalemate.

As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, the Illinois Lottery stopped selling Powerball tickets, and by 9:45 p.m. Friday it will stop selling Mega Millions tickets — unless and until lawmakers and the governor cut a deal to let the lottery pay out prizes for those games from cash it collects.

Illinois’ annual profit from Powerball and Mega Millions is historically about $90 million.

The current legislation expires midnight Friday, and without further legislative action, Illinois will be forced out of the multistate games. Depending on how long it takes the lottery to regain authority to pay those prizes, it could be harder to start reselling those tickets, officials said.

The saga has left players with a mix of frustration and resignation.

— McClatchy Tribune

“Affluenza” mother remains free on bond

A Texas judge has declined to revoke bond for the mother of a teenager who used an “affluenza” defense regarding a fatal drunken-driving wreck after prosecutors said she carried a rifle and sipped beer.

Judge Wayne Salvant on Thursday urged Tonya Couch, who’s free on bond, to “use common sense” pending her trial on hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering charges. Prosecutors wanted her returned to jail.

Witnesses testifying for prosecutors Thursday alleged Couch carried a rifle at a gun show over the weekend and sipped beer at a restaurant last month.

Ethan Couch is jailed for two years as a probation condition for the 2013 North Texas wreck that killed four. A psychologist at trial blamed “affluenza,” or acting irresponsibly due to wealth, for his actions.

The Couches fled to Mexico in 2015.

— Associated Press