Congressman Jim Traficant's parting words to congress before they voted to expel him. Opinions are divided as to whether he was framed and railroaded or guilty as hell in Youngstown.
Democratic Congressman from Youngstown Ohio 1985 to 2002, 7 re-elections all with over 65% of the vote. My hometown.
He was the executive director of the Mahoning County Drug Program from 1971 to 1981 and Sheriff of Mahoning County from 1981 to 1985. While serving as Sheriff, Traficant made national headlines by refusing to execute foreclosure orders on several unemployed homeowners, many of whom had been left unemployed by the recent clos More..ures of steel mills. This endeared him to the local population, which had long derived its wealth from steel and steel-associated businesses.
In 1983, he was charged with racketeering for accepting bribes from the local mafia. Traficant, who represented himself in the criminal trial, argued that he accepted the bribes only as part of an undercover investigation into corruption. Traficant was acquitted of the charges, becoming the only person ever to win a RICO case while representing himself. He never went to law school. He was found financially responsible for the money he accepted, and it was viewed as income for which he did not pay taxes. The IRS set up a plan to garnish his Congressional wages to account for the taxes and penalties he owed them.
After beating the justice department and the FBI in the RICO case, and battling the IRS, Traficant often talked of his belief that they would seek revenge. On April 12, 2002, after a two-month federal trial, a jury found Traficant guilty of bribery and other charges. He was sentenced to a federal prison, where he served seven years. He was expelled from the U.S. Congress on July 24, 2002
He was released from federal prison on September 2, 2009, after serving a seven-year sentence.
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