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Two state reps from Philly charged with accepted bribes

The city of Philadelphia conducted a large bribery sting, netting two state reps and others.

Everyone netted in the sting is black. It looked like they were going to get a free pass because of their skin color.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, a Democrat, declared that the sting operation was “racial targeting.” Kane demanded that the charges be dropped.

In a surprise move, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams defied Kane and filed charges anyway.

Three other black Philadelphia area politicians are facing charges as well. There cases are going before grand juries.


Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane made repeated false statements to justify shutting down an undercover sting, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Tuesday as he announced bribery charges against two lawmakers in the corruption case he revived.

Williams said Kane had irresponsibly and without evidence claimed that the investigation had been marred by racial targeting.

In fact, the district attorney said, a Philadelphia grand jury marshaled testimony and documents from within Kane’s own office showing that her top aides rejected the idea that racial prejudice affected the case.

“As an African American and as a law enforcement official, I was disgusted that the attorney general would bring racism into this case,” Williams said. “It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire for no reason, no reason at all.”

In blunt and often harsh language, Williams lobbed criticism after criticism at Kane, a fellow Democrat, as he detailed the criminal charges his office brought Tuesday against two Democratic state representatives ensnared by the sting.

Acting at the recommendation of the grand jury, Williams charged State Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown, 48, and Ronald G. Waters, 64, with bribery and other offenses in a case that Kane had derided as “half-assed,” “dead on arrival,” and too flawed to be prosecuted.

He said both lawmakers admitted to grand jurors that they illegally pocketed cash from an undercover informant who was secretly taping them. Waters accepted $8,750 in nine payments, he said, and Brown accepted $4,000 in five.