Many express support for congressman
Many wouldn't talk; some know Traficant, others are fearful.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Many Mahoning Valley residents don't want to talk publicly about the indictment of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.
But some of those who are willing to do so feel that Traficant is more of a victim than a criminal.
"Why don't they leave this guy alone?" Gary Kadvan said as he waited for a haircut at Ernie's Barber Shop in Struthers. Kadvan, of Struthers, said that although he wasn't very fond of Traficant, "I just don't like the way the government screws with people."
Jim Limpose of Washingtonville also said he felt the government shouldn't have indicted Traficant.
"It's time they stop wasting taxpayers' money," he said. Limpose was sitting at the counter of the Yankee Kitchen in Boardman when he spoke about the indictment.
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. attorney's office announced that Traficant had been indicted on 10 counts, including bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
After the indictment was announced, local residents at restaurants, newsstands, and barbershops around Mahoning County were asked to talk about Traficant's dilemma.
Afraid to speak: Several residents refused to talk on the record. Many said they knew Traficant and didn't want to speak against him. Others said they feared for their safety.
One woman said she felt that if she expressed her feelings about Traficant, her house would be bombed.
Those who did talk didn't necessarily like everything about Traficant. However, they still said they'd support him if he fights the indictment.
From his seat at the counter at the Yankee Kitchen, Terry Daugherty of Boardman said he felt the indictment was politically motivated.
"I'm just tired of the politics," Daugherty said. "This is all politics."
Limpose added that he felt some of the charges against Traficant didn't amount to much. He was responding to the charge that Traficant gave local businessmen political favors in exchange for work on his house and boat.
"They couldn't get him for anything else," Limpose said.
Not sure: Ernie Ciarniello, barber at Ernie's Barber Shop, was more impartial in his views about the indictment and Traficant. When asked about the indictment, Ciarniello said "I don't know if it's true or not."
Yet Ciarniello also said that he feels Traficant has "done some things he shouldn't have done." He said in that way, Traficant is much like someone the congressman has frequently criticized: former President Clinton.
Ciarniello also said, "I wouldn't be surprised if [Traficant] goes to jail." That opinion was shared by some Traficant supporters, who said they felt there won't be a repeat of the congressman's last federal trial.
During that trial, in 1983, Traficant defended himself against federal tax evasion and bribery charges. He was found innocent. think they'll be prepared."