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Ex-congressman Traficant freed from prison

Published: Wed, September 2, 2009 @ 12:50 p.m.

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Former Ohio Rep. James Traficant walked out of a Minnesota prison Wednesday morning after serving a seven-year sentence for bribery and racketeering.

The nine-term Democrat from Youngstown left the Federal Medical Center in Rochester and stepped into a waiting cab.

Traficant, who wore a gray T-shirt, white shorts, white knee-high socks and had his famously wild hair pulled back, ignored a reporter’s shouted question.

He faces three years of probation. He hasn’t said whether he will retire or try to return to public life.

Traficant, 68, was one of Congress’ most colorful members, known for his hair and his penchant for Star Trek references, including brief floor speeches typically punctuated with the phrase, “Beam me up.”

He was convicted in a raucous trial in 2002 of bribery and racketeering for accepting bribes from businessmen and taking kickbacks from staff members. He then was expelled from Congress, only the second House member since the Civil War to be ousted for unethical conduct.

Traficant was transferred in 2004 to the Rochester facility, which provides specialized medical services to inmates.

His three years of probation will include a requirement to report regularly to a probation officer, be subject to unannounced home visits and get permission before traveling outside northern Ohio.

Economically depressed Youngstown was a beneficiary of Traficant’s time in Congress, but it wasn’t clear what kind of reception he would get.

Some residents planned a welcoming party for Traficant’s return, selling $20 tickets for a bash with a suggested dress code of skinny ties, denim suits and bell-bottom pants — all part of his trademark style.

Traficant’s wife, Tish, told The Associated Press in an e-mail last week that she would pass along an AP interview request to her husband.

In Youngstown, former Traficant congressional staff member Linda Kovachik hung yellow ribbons outside her house to welcome Traficant home. She talked Tuesday with Tish Traficant, who indicated that her husband plans a short vacation after his release.

Probation requirements would require him to check in with his probation officer within several days of his release.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome home Jim !

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2YTownProud(8 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Looking good Jimbo!

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3valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Can't wait to hear him speak...

Who get's the first interview?

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4YTownProud(8 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

@ thewave,
The rest of your beloved nation has no room to point it's DIRTY fingers at Youngstown. It happens everywhere. Lest you forget Blagojevich in Chicago, or the public officials in New Jersey! Quit being naive. Our city and area was a lot better with Jimbo in office. Ask the people in Poland, Boardman, Canfield, etc... The ones who STILL pay their taxes, and moved out of Youngstown because it turned into such a drug infested wasteland.

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5steeltowngirl(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Poland welcomes you home, Jim.

As for the depressed, drug infested wasteland. Honestly folks, I know you hate it, but it is true. Moved some time ago to Columbus because that's where the jobs were. Visit other cities alot. None walk around with heads hung low, wo-is-us, quite like Y-Town.

It can be turned around. I am certain. But the whole valley needs to get behind it. Pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, hire a good PR/marketing firm to help, and really show the Youngstown pride. It can be done.

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6ecklyn(4 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome Home Jim! Breathe deep, relax, kick your feet up, you deserve a break from the last few years. When you're able, come out to Vegas and blow off some steam! There are lots of us Y-Towners here who would give you a nice welcome!

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7steeltowngirl(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Your perception of Columbus is quite narrow-minded. It's not like that at all.

But I appreciate your sense of humor, and I'd love to help Y-town in the fight that you mention. You are right...it's the crime, grit and attitude that give it its character. Now it just needs to work on showing its best sides (and yes, there are many) to the rest of the state and nation.

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8VABuckeye(14 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

And don't forget the Covelli Center is in the red, and is hemmoraging money. He never did anything for ?Youngstown, except bring more negative on a city that didn't need any more negative press. Seriously, the Democratic Party has been in power in Youngstown for over 60 years. Will someone please tell me what good they have done? You had/have Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and now Obama, and what have they done for you? NOTHING. Where was your representatives when the mills closed? What jobs/help did they bring in the 70s/80s? I know what you're going to say, small minded voters of the Mahoning Valley, "What did Nixon/Ford/Reagan, and the Bushes do?" Well, why should they do anything for an area who doesn't vote for them? It's all politics. Youngstown is a ghost town, and yet you still want to give support for a thief and a liar like Trafficant. Those who support him, deserve what you get.

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9davybabyboy(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome home Jimbo!!!!!!! We love you

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10MissYtown(5 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Jimbo can save the city schools from themselves!

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11steeltowngirl(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Erplane- I'll look for that group. Thanks.
(And agreed, the best Italian here happens to be owned by a Y-town family!)

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12Attis(1129 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Looking very good, Congressman. You would even look better as a US Senator. Welcome home, Jim.

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13redptcruiser(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome home Jimbo, we missed you. Hope you, Tish and the family enjoy the rest of your life.

A native Y'towner, now living in Pawleys Island, SC

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14SoYoRob(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome back Mr. Traficant, you would recieve a warm welcome here in Las Vegas, there are many of us here. I hope you still have the energy for a good fight because Youngstown and Congress need a good kick in the rear and set back in the right direction.

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15MVP(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Trafi"can't" is a buffoon who brought nothing but ridicule to the area. Those who think he was the best thing to hit this valley are as deranged and out of touch as the Manson fanatics who still think he is JC reincarnate. If he really wants to help the valley, he will stay out of the public eye along with his clueless followers.

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16Chief178(61 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I was in the military for over 20 years and every time Jimbo was up for reelection I made sure I had an absentee ballot or I drove home to vote against him. I could see the good he didn't do for Youngstown. Other districts I lived in thrived with new businesses all with congressional involvement. Once you’re on the out side looking in you can see the truth.

He did nothing for the community. I just couldn’t understand why he kept getting reelected. I don't know but maybe the crime bosses had them where they wanted him. Don't know maybe someone can explain that to me.

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17shadowman(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes he did something illegal. Yes he is a convicted felon. And yes he brought negative publicity to this area, which he was not alone in doing. But he has served his sentence, paid his debt to society as the saying goes, and will now be a free man. Shouldn't he be allowed to return home and live in peace? After all, we let murderers, rapists, child molesters and dog killers back into society.

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18YTownProud(8 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

AMEN Shadowman!

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19MVP(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I hope he does live in peace, OUT of the public eye. He may have done his time and paid his dues but the damage he has done to this area and the ridicule and shame he brought here will linger for decades. His supporters would make the area a laughingstock once again if the national news outlets told the world how messed up this area is that we would STILL vote for him.

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20shadowman(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Erplane, what do you do when there is something on TV that you do not want to watch? Change the channel. And keep your remote near by because you know one of the media outlets in this area will hire him for some sort of commentary. He would bring ratings. Believe it or not, the majority of people who despise him would tune in just to call him a buffoon and a con among other things. Why even his biggest public critic, the Vindicators own Bertram de Souza probably wouldn't miss a minute. As for running for some sort of office, he would never be elected. He has supporters yes, but not nearly enough to elect him.

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21SWEETEDDIE(35 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

The man paid his due,done his time and did it like a man,most of you loud mouths would of been broke down crying like a baby every day,doing time is no joke and Jim did it like a man.Jim welcome home,I hope all goes well for you and your family

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22MVP(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago


That's my fear. That he will run for office or get on the radio and embarrass the area again and again.

Jimbo, do us all a favor and fade away.....

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23shadowman(67 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Does anybody know what happened to all the other disgraced politicians and officials that were taken down in the mahoning valley bribery probe? I believe the prosecutor is dead and the sheriff is now selling cars. What happened to all the judges and attorneys?

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24moringlory(16 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Welcome Home JIm. Glad your back home, the valley has missed you and all you've done for us Good luck to you and your family !

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25gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Hi Jimmy,

Hope to see you and your family soon.
You know "OUR" door is always open.


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26MVP(67 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

He did MORE good while he was in prison than when he was in congress. While he was gone he couldn't embarrass the area. Can you say addition by subtraction?

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27dominoman777(57 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

welcome home jimmy (from a vietnam vet)

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28MVP(67 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

He would probably pay one of his lackeys to pick up the trash for him and find a way to use taxpayers money to pay him!

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29mariskad(1 comment)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


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30xytown(63 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Jimmy The Con... And that's why they call it Youngstown.... Whatta Place.... LOL!!!

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31Peanuthead(31 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


these are wonderful.....a matter of time before we see them in the valley

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32shadowman(67 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Can anybody answer my previous question about what happened to all the judges and attorneys that were busted in the bribery probe?

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33harbres(29 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Someone mentioned in an earlier post

"C'mon, this is Jimmy The Con we're talking about, he'll be jumping in front of the first microphone he sees and running his mouth and saying a whole lot of NOTHING, just like always."

Yep... on the news today talking about he would do what was right and speak up for what is right.

What version of RIGHT are you going to go by Jim???

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