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Ex-contractor has till Sept. 13 to hire lawyer for federal trial

Published: Thu, August 29, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

CLEVELAND -- Bernard J. Bucheit, who once operated Bucheit International in Boardman, has about two weeks to hire a lawyer to represent him at trial in December or prove that he can't afford one, according to an order issued by U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells.

Bucheit, 69, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is accused of doing contracting work in the early 1990s worth about $30,000 at James A. Traficant Jr.'s horse farm in Greenford and not requiring payment.

In January, a public defender was appointed to represent Bucheit until he sold property to pay for an attorney. Judge Wells has given Bucheit, who says he cannot afford a lawyer, until Sept. 13 to file financial forms to show his financial situation.

In return for the farm work, the government said, Traficant, then congressman for the 17th District, engaged in numerous official acts to help Bucheit obtain some or all of the $11.6 million owed his company by a Saudi Arabian prince for construction work in the Gaza Strip.

Bucheit is charged with conspiracy to violate the federal bribery statute, giving an unlawful gratuity to a public official and perjury before a federal grand jury.


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