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Traficant Gets 8 Years Behind Bars

July 31, 2002|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Expelled from Congress a week ago, an unrepentant James A. Traficant Jr. on Tuesday was sentenced to eight years behind bars for corruption and made it clear he intends to run for reelection from his prison cell--and expects to win.

The 61-year-old former House member was led to jail in handcuffs after the judge refused to let him remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction on charges of taking bribes and kickbacks.

"Quite frankly, I expect to be reelected," the pugnacious former congressman told U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells after she imposed the sentence.

The judge gave Traficant a longer sentence than the minimum 7 1/4 years prosecutors had requested, saying he had undermined respect for the government and lied to distract attention from the charges against him.

The judge also fined him $150,000 on top of the $96,000 the jury required him to forfeit in ill-gotten gains. "To protect a junkyard full of deceit and corruption and greed, you fought like a junkyard dog," Wells said, borrowing Traficant's own words.

Defiant throughout his trial and ethics hearings in Congress, Traficant filed earlier this year to run for a 10th term in November as an independent, despite the threat of imprisonment and expulsion.

Traficant said Tuesday that he plans to run for reelection from prison, and he asked the judge to select a prison in Ohio to make sure he is still eligible to run in the state.

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