PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Jurors weighing federal corruption charges against Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams heard testimony Wednesday about bills for his mother’s nursing home that went unpaid while he spent lavishly on himself.
Sylvia Randolph told the court her husband cut Williams a $10,000 check in 2012 to pay off medical expenses for the prosecutor’s mother, Imelda, after he fell behind on payments to her nursing home.
The government also called employees of the home, who testified that Williams had indeed fallen behind on almost $10,000 worth of medical bills in his mother’s name.
Though prosecutors say Williams used the money to pay off personal expenses, defense attorney Thomas Burke tried to explain the discrepancy by saying the bills had come out of nowhere.
Kathleen DeFriece, the director of accounts receivable at St. Francis Country House, rebutted the implication.
“You don’t just drop your mother off and say, ‘I’m out of here,’” she said, as quoted by Philly.com. “You have to sit and take the time. He signed the paperwork. He signed that he was responsible. You don’t just sign paperwork and blame someone else when it doesn’t get done.”
Later Wednesday, prosecutors called to the stand several employees of the Union League, where Williams is said to have racked up another debt he couldn’t pay, spending lavishly on etiquette lessons and father-daughter events.
Williams was ultimately asked to resign from the club and pay his tab.
Trying to prove that Williams abused his office to repay the businessmen accused of bribing him, the government says Williams ensured that one of his benefactors faced limited security screening at the airport when entering the United States from abroad.
Mohammad Ali, a Jordanian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to bribery and tax-evasion charges related to the case in May.
The government broached his dealings with Williams on Wednesday by calling to the stand one of the Homeland Security agents was involved in the Ali investigation.
Thomas Acerno testified that millions of dollars in cash deposits and subsequent withdrawals put Ali on the government’s radar.
Ali grew his fortune from an international calling-card empire called United Telecards, based in Pennsylvania. Since his company sold directly to retailers like bodegas, however, Acerno said that much cash business raised red flags. Ali’s travel to and from the Dominican Republic and Sweden drew federal scrutiny as well.
U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond adjourned proceedings for the day as Acerno began to testify about the relaxed border inspections Ali faced during the years Williams began accepting his gifts.