Deputy police commissioner, bar owner testify in Seth Williams' trial

Monday, June 26, 2017
Testimony continues in Seth Williams' trial
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Testimony continues in Seth Williams' trial. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on June 26, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The second week of the corruption trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams began on Monday with testimony from a bar owner and a top member of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Center City bar owner Michael Weiss was the second government witness to testify that he bribed Williams in exchange for using his influence. In Weiss' case, he says he got the Philadelphia District Attorney to write letters to help resolve his liquor license problems for a bar he owns in San Diego.

Weiss told the jurors he paid for multiple airline tickets for Williams, his girlfriend, and his two daughters to take vacations in Las Vegas, California and Florida. He testified Williams wrote letters on his behalf to the liquor control board in California.

Weiss is testifying under immunity from prosecution.

The day's first witness was Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Joe Sullivan.

Sullivan, who was a chief inspector back in 2012 and in charge of the department's Homeland Security Unit, said he was enlisted by Williams to help Bucks County businessman Mohammad Ali expedite his passage through the airport screening. Ali complained he was being profiled because of his name and religion.

Sullivan said he felt "uncomfortable" at a lunch meeting with Ali and Williams so much so he went to the FBI, which according to Sullivan, advised him to "stay away from Ali and advise Seth Williams of the same thing."

"I just felt something wasn't right and I felt the best course of action was to run that through my counterparts at the FBI," Sullivan said.

Mohammad Ali has already testified against Williams saying he lavished him with gifts to get close to someone in power. Ali's hoping for a lenient sentence after pleading guilty to bribery and tax evasion charges in return for testimony.


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