Philadelphia prosecutor to tackle political corruption case

PHILADELPHIA Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:39pm EDT

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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia district attorney said on Wednesday his office is taking over a controversial political corruption case that the Pennsylvania attorney general declined to prosecute.

District Attorney Seth Williams said he is convening a grand jury to investigate allegations that four state legislators from Philadelphia accepted gifts and money in exchange for political favors.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has declined to prosecute, saying the sting case, which was begun under former Attorney General Tom Corbett, who is now the state's Republican governor, was badly flawed.

"There may have been a racial focus to the targets of the investigation, improper reporting, inadequate resources and inadmissible evidence,” Kane said in a statement in March.

According to local media, four Democratic legislators and a traffic court judge were captured on videotape accepting money and gifts.

"We are here to find out what the facts are," Williams said at a news conference. "We can't put our heads in the sand."

(Reporting by Dave Warner, Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Jim Loney)

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