James Traficant, colorful convicted Ohio ex-congressman, dies – The Times-Picayune

September 27, 2014 - photo frame

CLEVELAND (AP) — James Traficant, a colorful Ohio politician whose self-assurance for holding bribes and kickbacks done him usually a second authority to be diminished from Congress given a Civil War, died Saturday. He was 73.

Traficant was severely harmed Tuesday after a selected tractor flipped over on him as he attempted to park it inside a stable on a family plantation nearby Youngstown. He died 4 days after in a Youngstown hospital, pronounced Dave Betras, authority of a Mahoning County Democratic Party.

The Democrat’s exclusion from Congress in 2002 came 3 months after a sovereign jury in Cleveland convicted him. Prosecutors pronounced he used his bureau to remove bribes from businesspeople and coerced staffers to work on his plantation and his residence vessel on a Potomac River in Washington. He also was charged with declare tampering, destroying justification and filing fake taxation returns. He spent 7 years in prison.

Traficant’s prominence was rivaled usually by his eccentricity.

He desired to play a clown during his 17 years in Congress. He got copiousness of notice within a staid, buttoned-down Capitol and airtime on C-SPAN for his disorderly mop of hair — suggested to be a wig when he went to jail — his standard habit of cowboy boots, denim or polyester suits, and his egotistic vocalization style.

His made-for-TV rants on a House building constantly finished with a signoff “Beam me up,” that Traficant borrowed from “Star Trek” to uncover his offend or bemusement during whatever he found quite outrageous.

He was innate May 8, 1941, in Youngstown and was a quarterback for a University of Pittsburgh, where he played with destiny NFL coaches Mike Ditka and Marty Schottenheimer.

He worked as a drug advisor for 10 years before using for Mahoning County policeman during a colleague’s suggestion.

He endeared himself to electorate in a early 1980s by defying a courts and going to jail for 3 nights rather than foreclose on a homes of workers laid off from a city’s failing steel industry.

The enmity between Traficant and sovereign law coercion authorities lasted via his open career, with Traficant trumpeting it as explanation that he was on a side of “the small guy” opposite absolute supervision interests.

He faced his initial sovereign temptation and crime hearing in 1983, when he was Mahoning County sheriff. Prosecutors indicted Traficant of holding bribes to strengthen mobsters’ rapist activity. He shielded himself in court, nonetheless he was not a lawyer, and won. He argued that he was conducting a one-person sting.

He was inaugurated to Congress a following year and was simply re-elected 8 times.

He championed “Buy American” mandate on probably any spending check and prided himself on alighting sovereign grants for hometown prospects, including highways, a sports locus and Youngstown’s airport.

Yet he mostly irritated associate Democrats by violation ranks, such as his preference to opinion for Republican Dennis Hastert as orator and his differences with President Bill Clinton on trade and other issues. He denounced Justice Department strategy and belittled Clinton’s profession general, Janet Reno, as a good awaiting to run for administrator of Beijing.

In 2000, as he geared adult for re-election, Traficant was indicted in a grand jury review that targeted crime and orderly crime in a Youngstown area and led to a philosophy of scores of people, including judges, a prosecutor and a sheriff.

But Traficant was a biggest prize, and he was not as propitious in his second hearing as in his first.

He claimed a supervision had attempted to support him since of his critique of a FBI, CIA and Internal Revenue Service.

During a two-month trial, he did a curbside talk on live network TV outward a building any morning and afterwards went inside to plea U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells, who attempted to inhibit Traficant from representing himself.

He mostly slumped alone during a invulnerability list scheming handwritten motions as a group of prosecutors and investigators pulpy a government’s box underneath a eye of Justice Department attorneys.

He was diminished from Congress in a 420-1 opinion on Jul 24, 2002, 3 months after being convicted on 10 corruption-related counts. He could have avoided a violation of exclusion by selecting to resign, though he remained daring to a end.

“I’m prepared to remove everything. I’m prepared to go to jail,” Traficant told colleagues as they debated his domestic fate. “You go forward and ban me.”

Six days later, during his sentencing, he abruptly dismissed his attorney.

“Take your things and move,” he told a lawyer, who afterwards switched seats with Traficant.

He was condemned to 8 years in jail and led from a sovereign courtroom in handcuffs.

Traficant called life in jail “tough.”

“Most domestic total go to some camps in nation clubs,” he said. “I didn’t.”

His box over, Traficant ran for re-election from jail as an eccentric in 2002 and mislaid to former help Tim Ryan. Traficant got 15 percent of a opinion in a three-way race.

He was expelled from jail in Sep 2009 and a following year ran for a Youngstown-area congressional chair as an independent. He perceived 16 percent of a vote, again losing to Tim Ryan, and afterwards faded from a spotlight.

From afterwards on, he lived a still life on his farm, doting on his grandchildren.

The stable where his tractor sloping over played a pivotal purpose in his rapist case.

A Youngstown businessman had a stable built for Traficant in lapse for a favor. The businessman after billed Traficant for a full construction cost after a congressman continued seeking for favors. Traficant finished adult profitable him distant reduction than what a stable was worth, and a businessman testified opposite him.


Biographical element in this news was created by former AP staffer Thomas J. Sheeran.

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