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What’s next for Traficant?

Published: Mon, August 31, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By David Skolnick

Feds will keep eye on former congressman for three years



YOUNGSTOWN — After ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. gets out of federal prison Wednesday, he won’t exactly be a free man.

As part of his sentence, Traficant will be on supervised release for three years.

Shortly after Wednesday, Traficant will meet with federal probation office officials in downtown Youngstown at the Thomas D. Lambros Building and United States Courthouse. Ironically, when he was a congressman, Traficant was instrumental in getting the federal building located in Youngstown.

Debra White of the federal probation office in Youngstown couldn’t be reached to comment on Traficant.

At that meeting with probation officials, the terms of Traficant’s reporting and supervision will be determined, said Richard J. Billak, chief executive officer of the Community Corrections Association.

CCA is a Youngstown-based company that operates a halfway house for inmates, including numerous federal prisoners.

During those three years of supervised release, Billak said:

- Federal probation officials will do periodic checks of Traficant’s residence in Poland for weapons.

- Traficant won’t be permitted to be around other convicted felons, which is standard operating procedure for any federal ex-con.

- If Traficant wants to travel outside Ohio, he would need approval from federal probation officials.

- If Traficant wants to live elsewhere he could put in a request to relocate, but it would have to be for a legitimate reason.

Because of Traficant’s age, 68, he won’t be required to find employment upon his release, Billak said.

Traficant was sentenced July 30, 2002, to eight years in prison on 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion. His sentence was reduced because of good behavior.

He will be released sometime Wednesday from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., where he spent most of his prison term.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons doesn’t provide a release time for its inmates, said Felicia Ponce, an agency spokeswoman.

How Traficant will get home is unknown.

Inmates can arrange their own transportation or the bureau can pay for a bus ticket home, Ponce said.

Also, within 30 days of a prisoner’s release, they can have “release clothes” sent to them, she said. If that doesn’t happen, the bureau will provide appropriate clothes for a freed inmate, Ponce said.

The standard outfit inside prisons for federal inmates is a khaki-colored, button-down shirt, khaki pants and tennis shoes with laces, she said.

Once Traficant makes it home, he can register to vote anytime he wants, said Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for the Ohio secretary of state. Convicted felons aren’t restricted from registering to vote after they’re released from prison, he said.

If Traficant wants to vote in November, the registration deadline is Oct. 5.

The bigger question is: Can the former congressman and Mahoning County sheriff run for office and serve if he wins?

Traficant hasn’t given any indication he’s interested in running for elected office. But some of his supporters hope he does.

There is no constitutional prohibition preventing Traficant for running for elected office.

But there are issues, depending on the position, regarding his legal right to serve, according to legal opinions provided by the Ohio attorney general’s office.

If elected to a congressional seat, Traficant could serve.

A person who is on any type of supervised release, however, can’t run for any office in the state of Ohio, according to legal opinions by the attorney general’s office.

But once Traficant’s three years of supervised release is up, he’d need “a reversal or annulment of the conviction, or obtain a full pardon” to run for a nonfederal office, according to a 1998 attorney general’s opinion.

Each case is different, and a court would ultimately have the power to determine the eligibility.


1Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years ago

“When I get out I will grab a sword like Maximus Meridius Demidius and as a gladiator I will stab people in the crotch.” - James Traficant

Wonder where he'll hide his sword?

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2whitehawk(8 comments)posted 6 years ago

His sword will be in the voting booth. After all, a vote for Ryan is a vote for Pelosi.

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3Bman(151 comments)posted 6 years ago

Maybe I am wrong, but maybe I am not...

However, I believe that ANY DISTRICT in the USA, except San Francisco, would take Traficant representing them over Nancy Pelosi.

Iran? Iraq? Health Care? Jobs? North Korea?

These are real issues that Pelosi is going to irrevocably screw-up. Jimbo would be an asset!

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4ohnose(16 comments)posted 6 years ago

Jim Traficant will never win re-election...But he did abuse his power regardless if he was railroaded or not..
I wont take away what Traficant has done for the area and I do believe he did more harm than good...I mean he would do more in a year than Ryan has in seven since he went to prison...

I think Traficant should just go to the local 570 talk radio and have his own program...He would get a lot of attention.

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5Cassie(88 comments)posted 6 years ago

Sometimes I feel like I've gone through the looking glass when I read media comments.


Senator Kennedy revered as an icon after leaving a young woman to drown in a car he drove off a road in Chappaquidick--autopsy revealed, if I am not mistaken, that she lived for a period of time afterwards while he was calling friends and making arrangements for PR spin. (I am not being critical--he got a second chance and really did splendidly and the whole thing haunted him forever, I think)
Michael Jackson--pays off the family of a youth claiming improper activities on the part of Jackson--is tried, although acquitted, of another charge of pedophilia--known drug addict, obtaining all kinds of drugs contary to law--revered, covered adoringlyand ad nauseum by the media.
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, involved in murder of a person--on his merry way playing for the NFL with nary a critic saying a word.
Michael Vick--served his time for terrible criminal acts involving dogs--vilified by the media, people frothing at the mouth because he is being given a second chance to make his living
Jim Traficant--paid his debt to society--vilified by self righteous media (De Souza, for example) and public figure (Humphries of the Chamber of Commerce) and very little of the good that he did being noted and media licking its chops over his requirements for probation
Donte Stallworth--vilified by the media, even though his driving under the influence was NOT the cause of man's death--manned up to his DUI--vilified by the media and rejoicing because he is suspended from NFL
Placido Burress--shot himself accidentally with firearm not registered in State of New York, though had been registered in Florida--sent to prison--media rejoicing self righteously and public being happy and judgmental.

Would someone explain to me the criteria for being given a second chance? I just do not understand this. Also, I might add, if all of the people for whom Jim Traficant did good things as a part of his job as congressman and for nothing at all in return were to buy tickets for his welcome home party, there would not be enough room in Mr. Anthony's. I find these double standards totally disgusting.

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6gelibra(1 comment)posted 6 years ago

If I recall this gentleman taught junior high math at Hayes Jr. High when I attended between 1961 thru 1963 and attempted to be a neutral qb at lunch recess for the smokey hollow group and the monkey's nest group.

I believe he sided with the latter so I recollect taking the penn football which I still have to this date and taking the game to oak park.

The point here is he is not "neutral" and probably never changed.

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7EliotNess_DC(86 comments)posted 6 years ago

Traficant's contribution to his constituents is not the 'pork' that he brought to the valley -- the courthouse, the Chevrolet Center. All Congressmen must 'fight like junkyard dogs' to bring back home whatever is left over of the taxpayers' money after Godfather Washington takes its tribute.

Traficant's contribution to all Americans was to poke the IRS in the eye with a sharp stick, so that ALL citizens are now presumed INNOCENT rather than GUILTY when battling with the IRS.

Neither did Traficant neglect a single constituent, John Demjanjuk, who was falsely accused of being "Ivan-the-Terrible", a saddistic guard at a German prison camp. The Israeli Supreme Court released Demjanuk into Traficant's custody to return to America rather than hanging in Israel. A federal judge branded the DOJ as guilty of "fraud upon the court" in the Demjanjuk case.

Would Timmy Ryan have the testosterone to have gotten involved in either of these major cases involving the liberty of citizens?

"Res ispa loquitur," as lawyers like Ryan say.

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8Hexenmeister(1 comment)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

All he did was to point the finger at Israel, Zionists, and Jews. See what happened to him. You say, He committted all those crimes. Most people do. Jewish power consists in incarcerating those who cross the Chosen. To prosecute or not to prosecute. Check this to open your eyes:
Let's wash ourselves of the virus once and for all.

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