BEDFORD, Pa. – A former Pennsylvania district attorney who tipped female drug dealers and gave them a mild treatment in exchange for sex was sentenced to eight years of probation on Friday.
Bill Higgins repeatedly apologized for his actions during the sentencing in the Bedford County Courthouse, where he formerly worked.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, judge,” Higgins said, according to WJAC-TV. “I’m sorry.”
He pleaded guilty in May in a deal with prosecutors that guaranteed him no jail time and no additional felony counts. He was officially disbarred earlier this month.
Higgins also pleaded guilty to the disclosure of the identity of informants is at least nine times.
President Judge Thomas Ling ordered him to perform more than 1,100 hours of community service and pay fines of nearly $10,000, despite Higgins’ lawyer told the court that he was “asking for justice in mercy.”
Ling let the members of the public statements prior to the condemnation, and says that the audience itself was the victim in this case.
About half of the people argued that Higgins, you get a heavier penalty, while others — including his mother and uncle — talked about the good he has done for the community, and how he has a wife and three daughters, WJAC reported.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro in charged Higgins in April, calling his behavior a betrayal of the community.
Charging documents said a woman performed oral sex on Higgins about a month later, he told a state trooper not to charge her with the delivery of medicines. The police affidavit said another woman claimed that after she performed oral sex on her husband, he told her that her cousin could thank her for not getting arrested.
Shapiro said that the state police probe in Higgins began in 2015 as a drug investigation and an investigative grand jury.
The public prosecutor and the judge on Friday explained to the court their reasoning for the acceptance of a plea deal. Ling said it would have measures taken by the state Senate and the president to force Higgins to resign without the deal. He also said it would have paralyzed the province’s criminal justice system to have a sitting attorney fight criminal charges for years, while receiving a salary.
“(Higgins) did more to damage to this county with the law enforcement of the community than any other person in the county’s history,” Ling said.