Joe Khan



Philly DA’s Office, 2000-2006

Assistant US Attorney, 2006-2016

Background and Policy Positions

From 2000 to 2006, Joe Khan was assistant DA under Philly’s “Deadliest DA,” Lynne Abraham. According to a Harvard report, Abraham didn’t try many death cases herself, but had her ADAs do it for her. Abraham was DA from 1991-2010, and oversaw death sentence for 108 people during her term. During the Philadelphia Coalition for a Just District Attorney forum, Khan was unwilling to say he would categorically refuse to seek the death penalty if elected.

Khan says he wants progressive criminal justice reform, but when asked for detail, his policy views reveal only moderate reforms:

Khan proposes using law enforcement assisted diversion to steer drug addicts out of the criminal justice system, and suggests nonviolent offenses can be charged as misdemeanors rather than felonies. He also suggests raising the Family Courts age of jurisdiction to 25.

Khan said it wouldn’t be necessary for the Philly DA to create a blanket rule to send prosecutions of local Democratic officials to state or federal prosecutors to avoid potential conflicts of interest. He did prosecute officials in Allentown and Reading for steering contracts in exchange for kickbacks. He also prosecuted the head of Harambee Institute charter school for embezzlement, and an IRS worker for extortion and tax fraud.

Endorsements and Donors


Khan won an endorsement from former PA Governor Ed Rendell, who was DA during the 1985 bombing of the MOVE house in West Philly and authorized the arrest warrants for MOVE activists. Former Congressperson Allyson Schwartz also supports him – she has said, “In the most heinous crimes, I want those people to stay in jail forever. A life sentence for me would mean they never get out. Life without parole is fully acceptable to me.”

Khan has the backing of the 5th, 9th, 41st, and 45th ward leaders, State Rep. Mike O’Brien, and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke against Donald Trump during the DNC.


Developer Bart Blatstein gave Joe Khan’s campaign $1,000. He is famous for pushback against his proposed project at Broad and Washington, and for selling the Piazza to Jared Kushner.

A $2,500 donation came from Alterra Property Group, a developer of high-end lofts and retail space in Philadelphia, which also tried to propose a project at Broad & Washington.

Khan received numerous large donations from various candidates for judge: John Macoretta, Rania Major, Vikki Kristiansson, Leonard Deutchman, Lawrence Bozzelli, and others.

He also received $3,000 from Marsha Perelman, the daughter-in-law of billionaire Ruth Perelman who worked in the energy industry for three decades at companies including Buckeye Pipe Line, Clearfield Energy, and Sempra Energy. Barbara Schiffrin, a Clinton fundraiser, kicked in $6,000.