Highlights thus far in the racketeering trial of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.
U R. Allen Sinclair, Traficant's administrative counsel until early 2000, said he paid monthly kickbacks of $2,500 to Traficant, who said he couldn't make ends meet because of IRS penalties.
U Sinclair said his predecessor, Henry A. DiBlasio, also had kicked back a portion of his salary to the congressman.
U Traficant emptied plastic bags that contained bank envelopes stuffed with $16,000 in cash in Sinclair's basement and told Sinclair to burn the envelopes, the former staffer said. Traficant later gave Sinclair another envelope with $2,500 and, still later, an additional $6,000. Sinclair said he was told to hold on to the cash, in case the FBI asked about bank withdrawals.
U Smudged black marks on one envelope presented as evidence showed that they were tested for fingerprints, and Sinclair referred to notes that he received from Traficant regarding the cash contained in the envelopes.
U Sinclair said he was afraid of Traficant.
U Sinclair didn't wear a listening device to record Traficant, acknowledging under cross-examination that would have been a "real killer" if the congressman had confessed on tape.
U Three bank records custodians explained how checks cashed by DiBlasio and Sinclair revealed large cash withdrawals.
U Jackie Bobby, Traficant's longtime office manager, said large amounts of cash ("Oh, my God, look at all this money," Bobby recalled saying) would arrive in the inter-office mail and Grace Yavorsky Kavulic, the congressman's secretary, would deposit it in Traficant's Bank One account.
U DiBlasio did 1 percent of Traficant's congressional work and everyone else did 99 percent, Bobby said.
U Bobby said congressional staffers Anthony Traficanti and George F. Buccella labored at Traficant's horse farm during regular business hours.
U Bobby, who filled out Traficant's financial disclosure forms, said he never claimed owing an assortment of contractors for improvements done at the farm.