Senator wants help from US on witness intimidation


WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. senator is joining the Philadelphia district attorney in seeking federal help to battle a rise in witness intimidation.

City prosecutors have filed 188 witness intimidation charges so far this year, up 60 percent from the same period in 2013. That's according to data from the DA's office.

The cases this year put Philadelphia on track to return to the numbers seen from 2010 to 2012, when officials pointed to "near epidemic" levels of intimidation.

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking assistance in Philadelphia and other cities where witness intimidation is a problem.

Philadelphia DA Seth Williams attributes this year's increase in intimidation cases to growing public awareness that is prompting people to come forward.