Former DA disbarred

Ex-Bedford official Higgins loses license after guilty plea to misconduct

Former Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins has been disbarred weeks after pleading guilty to numerous misdemeanor charges stemming from exchanging sexual favors with female drug dealers for overly lenient sentences and compromising the identities of multiple undercover informants.

His disbarment takes effect Aug. 9, according to an Ad­ministrative Office of Penn­sylvania Courts statement.

He was “disbarred on consent after having submitted a verified statement of resignation,” according to the disciplinary board of the Supreme Court of Pennsyl-vania.

“Mr. Higgins resigned from the practice of law to­day with the consent of the Pennsylvania Disciplin­ary Board,” Higgins’ de­fense attorney Steve Passarello said. “While he will not be permitted to practice law while his license is in resignation status, Mr. Higgins will be eligible to apply to have his license reinstated in five years and resume practicing law.”

Higgins resigned in early April amid allegations brought forth by the Office of the Attorney General. In addition to his disbarment, Higgins will lose the county’s pension contributions and interest that he accumulated while in office.

A plea bargain between Higgins and the Office of the Attorney General guaranteed no incarceration or filing of felonies, but supervision and fines are for the court to still decide.

Higgins’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 17 in Courtroom 2 at the Bedford County Court­house in front of President Judge Thomas Ling. Ling will decide whether to accept or reject the plea bargain then.

The probation office is conducting a presentence investigation.