NILES -- A Niles woman has launched a petition drive in an attempt to overturn former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.'s racketeering conviction and reinstate him to Congress.
"I feel his rights have been abridged," Freda Woodward of West Park Avenue said today.
Woodward said she began the effort Friday and had only three signatures by this morning.
Woodward said that once the signatures are collected, the petition will be sent to Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Navy veteran said Traficant was tried without an attorney in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Leslie Brooks Wells in Cleveland.
Before the trial, of which Traficant was eventually convicted of 10 felony counts, the judge urged Traficant to retain counsel several times.
Woodward also said Traficant should have been tried by a jury that included voters of the 17th District.
Woodward said she hopes the petition drive will "rectify the injustice" done to Traficant.
Woodward said she is receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and anger management at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Youngstown that she credits Traficant with having funded.
She said the post-traumatic stress disorder stems from being assaulted by a man while serving in the Navy.