Facing Expulsion from the Senate He Loves, Harrison Williams Finds Some Unlikely Supporters - 1982-02-01
"If they can do it to me and get away with it, every member of Congress must wonder when he might be secretly taped and manipulated into something that looked bad. Maybe it's not bad at all, but it can look bad."
When the 62-year-old Senator from New Jersey complains of the FBI tactics in Abscam that brought about his downfall, he is warning his fellow legislators who will be his judges: It could happen to you, too. This week the Senate reconvenes, and one of its tasks will be to consider the expulsion of Harrison "Pete" Williams. He was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy last year after a federal jury watched him on videotape assuring a bogus Arab sheik that he could obtain government contracts for a titanium mine in which Williams would receive shares. If his appeal is not successful, Williams will become the first U.S. Senator since 1906 to be convicted of a crime. He has yet to be sentenced, but if his colleagues follow the Senate Ethics Committee recommendation, it will be the first time that expulsion has been imposed on a U.S. Senator since the Civil War. His friends agree it will also be the ultimate humiliation for a man who has spent 23 years in the upper house. "The Senate," Williams' first wife, Nancy, says, "was his whole life."