Former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams speaks on lessons learned in prison

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Action News gained an exclusive with former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams around the corner from his old office, in front of City Hall.

"I was very grateful to have the opportunity to serve Philadelphia," said Williams. "I regret letting people down. To all the people I hurt, I ask for their forgiveness. For the people I helped, I wish I could have helped more."

While Williams will never prosecute again, his hope now is for redemption.

"All I can do through my actions daily is show what I did learn. I lost a lot while I was away," said Williams. "I lost my reputation, my pensions, my military career, my house, most importantly, time with my daughters."

Williams is now just two weeks off house arrest after spending close to three years in federal prison for bribery. He faced a multitude of charges which he admitted to committing.

But Willams says doing time was his wake up call.

"When you have nothing because I was in a cell by myself at one point for five months," said Williams. "When God is all you have, God is all you need. So I learned a lot I was on a very personal spiritual journey."

Even though Williams is reunited with daughters, he says he still has a lot to overcome.

"The greatest lesson I learned is just to be present for family, friends, and loved ones," he added.

Williams intentionally asked Action News to meet in front of the Octavius Catto Statue on the day before the late civil rights activist's birthday.

Catto was killed fighting for the right for Blacks to vote.

In the present day, Williams' mission is fighting for voter rights for felons, and was hired by the Hairston Foundation.

"This is just a part of a natural, organic process of just trying to share information about something that I learned that can help me," said Williams. "And I know can help the other 300,000 Philadelphians with criminal pasts."

Williams says he now understands his mission and isn't shying away from his past.

Action News will have an exclusive follow up report with the former district attorney next week on how his personal story in prison has motivated him to educate fellow felons about their rights.

As Election Day quickly approaches many, especially minorities, are disenfranchised.
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