Lynne Abraham sues to have DA Seth Williams removed from office

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Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and attorney Richard Sprague jointly filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court Monday afternoon seeking to have embattled District Attorney Seth Williams removed from office. 

According to the lawsuit, state law prohibits Williams from remaining in the DA’s Office now that his law license has been temporarily suspended as a result of federal corruption charges brought against him. 

The lawsuit calls on the court to issue a writ of quo warranto to “extinguish Williams’ unlawful attempt to maintain his position as the Philadelphia District Attorney…”

Williams’ attorney, Thomas Burke, could not be reached for comment. 

“We’re not aware of instances where private individuals have taken these steps, but that’s not going to dissuade us in any way,” said Sprague & Sprague attorney Peter Greiner, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Abraham and Sprague.

Abraham served as the city’s D.A. for 19 years, and Sprague also spent nearly two decades in the D.A.’s Office. “They each have their own unique histories,” Greiner said, “specifically in the D.A.’s Office, which I think speaks volumes about why they’re doing this.”

Abraham and Williams share a long and complicated history. Williams joined the DA’s Office in 1992 while Abraham was the city’s top prosecutor. He gradually rose through the ranks, but the two sometimes clashed.

Abraham recently told the Inquirer and Daily News that she frequently admonished Williams for partying too much while he was a young prosecutor. She also questioned his work ethic.

Williams left the DA’s Office in 2003, and sent Abraham a letter in which he endearingly referred to her as “Mama Lynne.” He even invited her to his farewell party, where he shockingly announced that he intended to run against her in the Democratic primary in 2005.

Williams lost that race. But Abraham decided against running for another term in 2009, which cleared a path to the DA’s Office for Williams, who promised to usher in a host of procedural and policy reforms.

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