I am living in Larry Krasner’s head.

Throughout the past several months, Krasner has used my name twice to respond to media scrutiny about his failures as a prosecutor. The first time was in February. When asked why the leader of a murderous carjacking ring was on the street instead of in prison, he replied, “Ask Seth Williams.” Then, at a community meeting on June 8, he was pressed about the lack of legal consequences for criminals and about the mass shooting on South Street. Krasner responded, “We hold people responsible from off the street to elected politicians like Seth Williams.”

I have made clear to anyone who will listen that I think Larry Krasner, through a dangerous mix of incompetence and ideology, has destroyed the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and unleashed an atmosphere of lawlessness in our city. Ask anyone involved in the criminal justice system, including criminal defense lawyers, and they will tell you the District Attorney’s office is a mess. In a single year — 2021 — the office lost 130 lawyers, a nearly 50% attrition rate. The lawyers remaining are new, inexperienced and poorly trained. The homicide unit once staffed by some of the most experienced homicide prosecutors in the country is now staffed by lawyers prosecuting their third jury trial. There is almost no institutional knowledge in the office because Krasner either fired or drove out most of the talent. The experienced prosecutors that remain live day-to-day like dissidents behind the Iron Curtain; afraid to speak up for fear of reprisal.

READ MORE — R. Seth Williams: Krasner puts ideology over duty in pursuing phony innocence claims

Since the days of Richardson Dilworth, the elected Philadelphia District Attorney has recognized and respected the professionalism of the staff he or she inherited and with few exceptions retained the attorneys from the prior administration. Not Krasner. On his first day in office, he carried out an ideological purge by firing 31 longtime prosecutors. For Krasner, the operations of the office take a back seat to his personal vendettas. The local press captured the fired prosecutors leaving with their personal belongings in boxes, maximizing their humiliation.

Krasner didn’t limit his vendettas to firings. In what can only be described as a Stalinesque attempt to erase his enemies from history, Krasner took the extraordinary step of renaming the office’s Ray Harley Conference room. Harley, who I worked for as a young assistant DA, was universally respected and beloved, including most criminal defense lawyers. But Krasner could not tolerate anyone from prior administrations having a prominent place in an office he runs. Like the Grinch, he slithered around and removed any remnant of tribute to Harley. Gone are the plaques and sentimental photos of Ray that were dedicated at a ceremony attended by Ray’s family and generations of prosecutors. As a cover for his pettiness, he renamed the room after U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor — an admirable woman with zero connection to Philadelphia or the office.

Krasner and his inner circle of advisors engage in these petty exercises instead of doing their jobs as prosecutors.

“We hold people responsible.” Ask any cop who has arrested the same criminal multiple times for carrying a gun in a crime-plagued neighborhood only to see them back on the street the next day, and they will tell you this claim by Krasner is not true. Krasner’s office holds almost no one responsible when it comes to gun crime. Under Krasner, the conviction rate for illegal gun possession has plummeted from 71% in 2015 to 42% now. Despite Krasner’s nonsensical claims to the contrary, there is a direct connection between people who carry guns and people who shoot guns. If you don’t punish the former, you will have more of the latter. The absence of consequences for gun violence in Philadelphia is not a natural occurrence. It is the logical result of Krasner’s deliberate decisions to abandon proven and effective strategies that reduce crime.

Since the days of Richardson Dilworth, the elected Philadelphia District Attorney has recognized and respected the professionalism of the staff he or she inherited and with few exceptions retained the attorneys from the prior administration. Not Krasner.

In addition to eviscerating or silencing the experienced legal staff at the office, Krasner has ended geographic, community-based prosecution that promoted coordination between law enforcement agencies and community groups. He ended evidence-based strategies like Gunstat that prioritized gun offenses and violent offenders by police district. He is either unwilling or unable to support strategies like Focused Deterrence.

Despite being the chief law enforcement officer in Philadelphia, Krasner refuses to take any responsibility for the record level of homicide in the city. When confronted with these facts, he denies reality. Under Krasner, last year Philadelphia saw the most murders in its history; 562. In 2013, the city had the lowest number of murders in 45 years; 246. The following year, the total was 248. Since Krasner has taken office, there has been over a 50% increase in murders in Philadelphia.

What changed?

According to Krasner, it was not anything he did or did not do. Instead, he blames me, the police, judges, lawmakers in Harrisburg and D.C., Nutter, Rizzo, Republicans, Donald Trump, and everyone else except the Phillie Phanatic. Nowhere in his long list of culprits do you find himself, anyone who works for him, or any mistake he has made or policy he has implemented.

READ MORE: Philly Democrats remain largely silent on Krasner non-prosecution stance for illegal guns

Now in his second term, he still has no idea how to reduce violent crime. When confronted with the effectiveness of past approaches, he lies. According to Krasner, the record low homicides 2013 and 2014 had nothing to do with the leadership of Michael Nutter and Chuck Ramsey. According to Krasner, murders were down everywhere in the country during those years. Like many of Krasner’s statements, that is true but misleading. Nationwide in 2013 compared to 2012, murder was down about four percent. In Philadelphia between 2012 and 2013, it was down 25%. There were many cities in 2013 in which murders were up. The people leading Philadelphia in 2013 and 2014 made a difference.

Krasner also lies about what’s happening now. According to Larry, the record murders in Philadelphia in 2021 are the result of Covid, poverty and racism, and they can’t be stopped because they are happening everywhere. Tell that to Dallas, Charlotte, St. Louis, Detroit, and other cities in which murders decreased in 2021. In each of those cities, police and prosecutors made a difference. Closer to home in Chester, there was an almost 40% drop in homicides in 2021. Coincidentally, Chester is employing the same strategies that were pioneered by police and prosecutors in Philadelphia in 2013 and 2014 (they even hired former Philadelphia prosecutors to lead the effort).

In Larry’s world, murder is like the weather: it comes and goes and there is nothing anyone can do about it. According to Larry, not doing his job doesn’t matter, because even DAs who do their job have no impact on violent crime.

Elected officials and most of the media repeatedly let Larry off the hook. Instead of confronting his lies they allow him to execute the “Krasner Two Step:” 1) make a false statement (“We hold people responsible,” “murders are up everywhere”), and 2) attack or blame someone else (“like Seth Williams,” “ask Seth Williams.”)

To put an end to this public spectacle, I offer the following open letter to the DA:


Dear Larry, 

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation, I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial!

Those are the words of Shakespeare’s Cassio when Othello takes away his title as a lieutenant as punishment for drunken behavior. It captures Cassio’s painful realization that his image and his status are gone and that what remains is unrecognizable.

Five years ago this month, June 29, 2017, when I was 50 years old, I pleaded guilty to a federal crime and was sentenced to five years in prison. Like Cassio, I lost my title (as the elected District Attorney of the city of Philadelphia). I lost my license to practice law, my pension, my military career. I lost friends. I lost my house. I lost my reputation. I was stripped bare as a man, humiliated, unmoored and lost. 

I have lived with the consequences of my actions since then. Most are personal and between my family, loved ones, myself and my God. But there is one consequence of my fall that is very public and one for which I have agonizing shame and guilt; you, Larry. You are in the District Attorney’s office because I am not. I own that. I understand I am an imperfect vessel. I also understand that every time I open my mouth to speak, I will be attacked by you, your paid social media minions, and others. I have tried to lead a private life focused on God, family and service but I cannot remain silent as you destroy the city I love. 

My sins do not absolve you of your guilt. So rather than invoke my name when you are in a tight spot, take personal responsibility. Admit that your approach to guns and violent crime has failed. Ask for help and take the advice of police and prosecutors who have had success in fighting crime. I have known you since 1992. I know you hate police and prosecutors and take pleasure in demeaning their professions. But even knowing that, I still want you to wise up and succeed.

Stop measuring yourself by your own rhetoric and silly statistics (from your campaign website under “Promises Kept;” “The amount of time people will spend in prison has dropped by over 18,000 years”). Instead, measure yourself by the number of lives you can save by reducing shootings and murders. 

You talk about ending poverty and improving education. Those are admirable goals that will help a future population of young men who would otherwise get caught up in the criminal justice system. But what about the current population of young men that is terrorizing the city by carrying guns? What are you doing about them? You say prosecuting illegal possession of guns criminalizes poverty. No, Larry. It criminalizes folks willing to kill Philadelphians. Criminals that carry and use guns against their neighbors don’t need library cards; they need jail cells. Until you can admit the difference and begin doing your job, the violence will continue.

Your ego is not more important than the truth. Stop lying. Start telling the truth or keep my name out your mouth.

Sincerely,

R. Seth Williams

R. Seth Williams is the former district attorney for Philadelphia, and was the first African American elected as a district attorney anywhere in the commonwealth. Follow him on Twitter at @newsethwilliams.

4 thoughts on “R. Seth Williams: Dear Krasner, Tell the truth or keep my name out your mouth”

  1. I’m sure a right-wing DA would be much tougher on crime… unless it’s committed by the Proud Boys or anyone else of the “correct” political persuasion in which case crime and lawlessness simply becomes “legitimate political discourse”.

    1. Seth was anything but a right winger.
      Police Commissioner outlaw stated last week that Philadelphia police had taken 6,000 illegal guns off the streets of Philadelphia last year. A significant achievement however, without the number of associated arrests, trials, and firearms’ convictions the number becomes a statistic without context. The guns were not just found lying about on the street – they were in people’s possession. Where did they acquire these illegal firearms? Are there follow up investigations to see how they go them? So much unanswered.

    2. You’re kidding right? Stop swallowing the fake news like a good little cult member. The Proud Boys are not violent. That would be Antifa, Marxist BLM and the other violent radicals. Don’t even start me on the FBI-instigated “armed insurrection” which was neither armed nor an insurrection. No Antifa “counterprotest.” Proud Boys leader wasn’t even there. Started WHILE THE VOTE WAS BEING CHALLENGED, which makes no sense whatsoever. Started 20 minutes before President Trump finished his speech 2 miles away, at which he said this…

      Exactly how is THIS a signal from President Trump to attack?

      “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

      President Donald J. Trump
      Save America Rally on The Ellipse in Washington, D.C.
      January 6, 2020

      President Trump also never “commanded” the Proud Boys to do anything. In a fit of frustration at the last debate after Chris Wallace asked him for the billionth time to denounce white supremacy, something which he had done dozens of times before, he asked Wallace who he wanted he to denounce. Wallace responded with Proud Boys. So Trump said, “Stand back and stand by.”

      You go ahead and lie though. We all saw the “peaceful protests” which killed over 30 people and caused over a billion in damage while Kamala’s campaign bailed them out and your leftist DA’s like Uncle Larry failed to press charges. Americans know the truth, and more people are waking up to the steal and the tyranny every day.

      Here. Be an actual American and educate yourself on J6 and the steal…

      “Excerpts of Congressional Testimony of Voting Machine Manipulation and More” (DefendingTheRepublic.org, Rumble)
      (includes HIllary among others)
      https://rumble.com/v18jdgu-excerpts-of-congressional-testimony-and-more.html

      Jan. 6th:

      “FBI Shoots Down Dem ‘Conspiracy Theory’ That Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Was Pre-Planned” (Tyler Durden, zerohedge)

      “Unindicted Co-Conspirators in 1/6 Cases Raise Disturbing Questions of Federal Foreknowledge” (Darren Beattie, Revolver News)

      “Civil Liberties Are Being Trampled by Exploiting “Insurrection” Fears. Congress’s 1/6 Committee May Be the Worst Abuse Yet” (Glenn Greenwald, substack)

      “Meet Ray Epps, Part 2: Damning New Details Emerge Exposing Massive Web Of Unindicted Operators At The Heart Of January 6” (Darren Beattie, Revolver News)

      “Capitol Punishment” (movie by Nick Searcy, producer and director, who was in attendance; website capitolpunishment dot com with free trailers)

      “January 6, the Movie: Exclusive Nick Searcy Interview on His New Film ‘Capitol Punishment’ (Bill Whittle, YouTube)

      “The Truth About January 6th” (J6truth dot org, Rumble)* another excellent documentary containing lots of video from that day

      *2020 election:*

      Absolute Proof (Lindell, frankspeech website), Defending the Republic (Powell, website and Rumble channel), a1000cuts dot org, Dr. Shiva, Patrick Byrne on Rumble (former CEO of Overstock), 2000 Mules by Dinesh D’Souza.

      2020 wasn’t their first rodeo in my opinion.

      “Ballot Mules Funded by Obama-Linked NGOs Pouring Billions Into ‘Local Insurgencies’: Chief Analyst” (Facts Matter with Roman Balmakov, YouTube)
      ** There is a lot of information tying November 3rd to the globalists which has yet to be released.  Irrefutable proof in their words.

      “What’s Changed CNN – Smartmatic”
      https://rumble.com/vbg3ao-whats-changed-cnn-smartmatic.html

      “Lou Dobbs, 15 Years Ago, on ‘Venezuelan’ Smartmatic” (also on CNN)
      https://rumble.com/vbcspt-lou-dobbs-15-years-ago-on-venezuelan-smartmatic.html***Chavez “won” his 2004 recall (vote count flipped; night before Chavez was losing 59% to 41% then he won 59% to 41%)

      These establishment politicians are globalist fascists organized through the UN and the World Economic Forum using the fake emergencies of equity, climate crisis, pandemic/health and infrastructure to centralize power in unelected agencies. THEY are the tyrants not President Trump.

      The tyrants have been exposed and are desperate. Wake up. It is your duty as a citizen to be informed, share the info and preserve our freedom. Fauci’s still up there shilling his vaccine for kids with no proof or necessity, probably as they’ve cut deals with the pharmaceutical companies. The one with Moderna has been confirmed.

      The communists have been undermining our country for years. Evil didn’t stop when Hitler was defeated in WWII.

      * Is Klaus Schwab the Most Dangerous Man in the World? (AwakenWithJP, YouTube)

      The globalists at the World Economic Forum have been training and installing their global leaders since the early 90’s (Trudeau, Macron and Merkel, for example) and SPECIFICALLY STATE IN THEIR OWN WORDS IN THE VIDEO ABOVE THAT THEY WANT TO EDIT YOUR GENES through forced vaccinations using mRNA and other technology (as the COVID vaccines do) TO ELIMINATE YOUR FREE WILL. Eventually, with technology and transhumanism, they want to put a chip in you.

      You will never own an electric car. Fossil fuels represent independence from the grid of driverless electric vehicles.

      Their motto for the Great Reset is, “You will own nothing and be happy.” In other words, the government owns everything. There’s another world for that.

      Communism.

      * Official 2011 Chinese government submission discusses ‘weaponising specific viruses to target races’ (Sky News Australia, YouTube, 6:14 mark)

      * They’re Meeting RIGHT NOW! – It’s Not Just a Rumor (Mark Dice, YouTube)

      (Bilderberg)
      * The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of 21st Century Fascism (Glenn Beck, YouTube or website glennbeck dot com under Blog – Videos)

      * Agenda 1: Grinding America Down (Curtis Bowers, YouTube)
      * Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit (Curtis Bowers, YouTube)

      * World Government: Only One Crisis Away / Curtis Bowers and Gary Kah (Curtis Bowers, Christian documentarian, YouTube)….Kah wrote a book in the early 90’s. First hand knowledge. Spent years in government in the 80’s meeting with the globalists.

      * Education: Marxism’s Greatest Tool / Curtis Bowers and Alex Newman (Curtis Bowers, Christian documentarian, YouTube)

      * Project Groomer: Exposing the Secret Plan to Brainwash Your Kids (Glenn Beck, YouTube)
      (explains the Marxist CRT and LGBT agenda in schools implemented under the umbrella of SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
      Note: James Lindsay also does a very thorough series on the subject on his YouTube channel “New Discourses.”

      * Deep State: The Invisible Government Behind the Scenes (with Alex Newman) (Curtis Bowers, Christian documentarian, YouTube)

      God bless you and yours.

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