PA REPRESENTATIVES WATERS AND JAMES PLEAD GUILTY TO FELONY CONFLICT OF INTEREST CHARGES

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PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that Pennsylvania State Representative Ronald Waters and former Pennsylvania State Representative Harold James have pled guilty to felony Conflict of Interest charges for accepting money in exchange for promised political actions.

“Today’s admission of guilt by Representative Ronald Waters and former Representative Harold James was the product of hundreds of hours of hard work. It also marks a sad day for the City of Philadelphia,” said District Attorney Williams. “Representatives Waters and James, both of whom I know and call friend, have ended their distinguished careers by taking responsibility for their actions, and I appreciate that, because the evidence clearly shows that they broke the law.

“This office’s ongoing mission to find and prosecute political corruption is one I take seriously and one that I will continue to do for the people of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

This morning’s hearing, which took place in Dauphin County, was presided over by the Hon. Scott Evans of the Court of Common Pleas. Waters pled guilty to nine counts of Conflict of Interest and was sentenced to 23 months probation, ordered to pay $8,750 in restitution and $5,000 to cover the cost of his prosecution, and resign. James pled guilty to one count of Conflict of Interest, was sentenced to 12 months probation, and ordered to pay $750 in restitution and $2,000 to cover the cost of his prosecution.

Recorded evidence made by a confidential informant (CI) showed:

  • Waters accepting $8,750 for voting against specific legislation, setting up and attending meetings with an executive at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and contacting an elected official to help the CI’s friend get a job; and
  • James accepting $750 for his special election reelection campaign and offering to further sell his services to the CI.

Hearings for Representatives Louise Williams Bishop (June 5, 2015), Michelle Brownlee (June 8, 2015) and Vanessa Lowery Brown (July 13, 2015), the other elected officials who were similarly charged in the special investigation, are expected to take place in Dauphin County

Thomasine Tynes, the former President Judge of the Philadelphia Traffic Court, has already pled guilty to bribery, conflict of interest and conspiracy charges.

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