May 11, 2017 / 10:53 PM / 3 months ago

Businessman pleads guilty to bribing Philadelphia D.A.

FILE PHOTO: Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams speaks during a news conference at the district attorneys office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 15, 2013.Tim Shaffer/File Photo

(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania businessman charged with bribing Philadelphia's District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams in exchange for special treatment pleaded guilty to federal bribery and tax evasion charges on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Mohammad Ali, 40, provided a "stream" of bribes to Williams, including cash, an all-inclusive Dominican Republic vacation, furniture, expensive dinners, clothing and a Burberry purse for his girlfriend.

In exchange, Williams is accused of helping Ali avoid secondary security screenings when returning to the United States from foreign travel and giving him assistance with criminal charges brought against an unnamed associate.

Ali's defense attorney could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Thursday afternoon.

Williams was charged in a 23-count indictment in March with accepting the bribes as well as fraud. A superseding indictment

filed last week accused him of spending campaign funds on such personal items as massages and expensive dinners.

An attorney for Williams, who has denied the bribery and fraud charges against him, could not be reached for comment following the guilty plea by Ali.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Tom Brown

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