TRAFICANT CASE Papers are put on the Record
The documents include a letter, an audiotape transcript and two affidavits.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. submitted into the Congressional Record papers he is using in his defense against bribery and racketeering charges.
The documents are ones Traficant filed with the U.S. District Court in August that he said proved that the "Gestapo government" did whatever it took to frame him.
The documents: The papers include two affidavits; a letter from Henry A. DiBlasio, Traficant's former longtime administrative assistant; and the transcript of a telephone conversation Traficant taped with Richard E. Detore, his co-defendant.
Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, submitted the documents "to have them memorialized on the record," said Charles Straub, his spokesman.
Before turning in the papers, Traficant said on the House floor that they "document prosecutorial misconduct in the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Ohio." That office is prosecuting the congressman's case.
Accusations: Traficant faces a 10-count indictment on charges of racketeering, bribery and tax evasion. He was to be arraigned today on a superseding indictment, unsealed two weeks ago, that adds a few more details to Traficant's charges and names Detore, 41, of Clifton, Va., as his co-defendant. Detore is charged with conspiracy to violate the federal bribery statute. He will be arraigned Nov. 27.
Traficant is accused of accepting cash, materials and meals from USAerospace Group, a Virginia company that sought to use the congressman's influence to promote its laser-guidance technology. Detore is the company's former chief operating officer. J.J. Cafaro, an executive in his family's mall business and owner of USAerospace, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the federal bribery statute, admitting he provided an illegal gratuity to Traficant.
Contents: During an Aug. 1 taped conversation, Detore told Traficant he did nothing wrong and complained about being threatened with an IRS audit and encouraged by a federal prosecutor to lie or be indicted as a co-conspirator.
In the Jan. 24, 2000, letter, DiBlasio wrote that FBI and IRS agents attempted to "coerce me to agree to certain allegations that are absolutely not true."
Traficant's indictment says DiBlasio told R. Allen Sinclair, then an incoming Traficant staffer, that he diverted a portion of his salary to the congressman and explained that Sinclair was to do the same.
The affidavits submitted into the Congressional Record came from Patrick J. Naples Jr., a former Mahoning County reserve deputy who served when Traficant was sheriff, and John Innella, who said he overheard an April 30 conversation the congressman had with Henry Nemenz, a local grocery store owner.
Naples accuses Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Morford, the lead prosecutor in the Traficant case, of misconduct, alleging that the attorney shared confidential information.
Innella quotes Nemenz as saying that Morford put words in his mouth and that he felt intimidated when questioned by federal authorities about Traficant. The Vindicator reported last year that Nemenz's construction company did work at Traficant's farm in Greenford and never received full payment. In the affidavit, Innella said Nemenz told Traficant that the bill was paid in full. Nemenz's attorney has said his client denies the words attributed to him by Innella.