Philly NAACP vows to block Lynne Abraham from becoming interim DA

The president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP said Saturday that he would seek to block former District Attorney Lynne Abraham from returning to office to serve out the last 5½ months of disgraced ex-DA Seth Williams’ term.

“We had a great deal of problems with Lynne Abraham when she reigned as DA,” said Minister Rodney Muhammad. “I was shocked that she would even put in her name for consideration. We’re putting out a public call to her to withdraw her name from consideration.”

Abraham, 76, served as district attorney for almost two decades before she retired in 2010. She was succeeded by Williams, who abruptly resigned last month before pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.

In her application for the interim job, Abraham said she would take no salary or benefits if chosen.

Muhammad’s opposition to Abraham is rooted in a 20-year-old grudge, born when Abraham and a coalition of conservatives scuttled then-President Bill Clinton’s nomination of Frederica Massiah-Jackson to become a federal judge.

“Massiah-Jackson would have been the first African American woman in the city to be appointed to the federal bench,” Muhammad said. “It was Lynne Abraham who blocked the nomination because she thought Massiah-Jackson was partial to criminals and not friendly to prosecutors and police.”

Fourteen candidates have applied for the position of interim district attorney, which would pay about $77,700. A panel of 88 Common Pleas Court judges is set to decide Thursday on Williams’ replacement. That panel, coincidentally, happens to be chaired by Massiah-Jackson.

Abraham could not be reached for comment.

Muhammad has scheduled a news conference to discuss his opposition to Abraham at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the new headquarters of the NAACP’s Philadelphia branch, 4458-B Germantown Ave.