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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, January 17, 2013 6:01 pm

Guilty plea in US Virgin Islands corruption case

The Associated Press

A former senator in the U.S. Virgin Islands pleaded guilty Thursday in a public corruption case.

Alvin Williams Jr. entered the plea to racketeering, one of nine charges he faced after he was indicted by a grand jury in November. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine as well as forfeiture penalties and restitution.

Williams, 34, acknowledged that he attempted to bribe an official to steer business to a company owned by his father and to soliciting bribes from developers in the U.S. Caribbean territory. The former politician also admitted that he demanded salary kickbacks from his legislative staff and to having staff members do his coursework for an online college degree from the University of Phoenix.

Williams, whose term in the territorial legislature expired Monday, appeared downcast as he entered his plea in federal court in St. Thomas. Defense attorney Gordon Rhea said he accepts responsibility.

"He does not offer excuses or blame others. He accepts responsibility for what he has done," Rhea said. "He has let the public down and he apologizes for it."