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TRAFICANT TRIAL Jurors return for 4th day of talks

Published: Thu, April 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

If convicted, the congressman likely would face a jail term of four to six years.

CLEVELAND -- Jury deliberations continued for a fourth day today in the racketeering trial of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th.

The sequestered jurors -- 10 women and two men -- have deliberated more than 22 hours since receiving the case Monday afternoon. At midday today, jurors notified U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells that they had a question, which was to be revealed in open court.

On Wednesday, the jury decided to go out for lunch, accompanied by U.S. marshals; lunch was delivered Tuesday, their first full day of deliberations.

Jurors ended their day shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The trial began Feb. 5 with jury selection. The prosecution called 55 witnesses. Traficant called 31 witnesses, three of whom Judge Wells determined could not testify based on relevance or hearsay.

Charges: The 60-year-old congressman faces four counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, two counts of tax evasion, and one count each of accepting an illegal gratuity, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States and racketeering.

Traficant, in Congress since 1985, is accused of cheating on his taxes, taking kickbacks, compelling staffers to do work at his 76-acre horse farm in Greenford, accepting bribes and gifts from businessmen and using his influential position to provide favors instead of paying contractors for work at the farm.

If convicted, he likely faces four to six years in prison under the sentencing guidelines.


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