Fund drive to finish documentary on Traficant tops its $25K goal

By Amanda C. Davis

With hours to spare, donors came through to raise more than $25,000 to help Eric Murphy, former Mahoning Valley resident, finish a documentary about former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

The deadline to raise $25,000 was 9:25 p.m. Wednesday through Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform. The campaign raised $25,581, pledged by 165 people.

Murphy, formerly of Warren, wouldn’t have received any money if the goal hadn’t been met. He said he appreciates every dollar pledged.

“I am humbled by the support from friends and family, colleagues in Los Angeles and strangers who just appreciated the project,” he said. “It’s great to hear from Youngstown-Americans from across the country.”

The money will allow Murphy and producer Jeff Alberini of Howland to conduct a final round of interviews and purchase third-party footage from news outlets, which Murphy said is very expensive.

Alberini is a teacher at Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown, producer for the Cleveland Indians and associate producer of Homework Express at Youngstown State University.

He said the documentary’s subject matter is so compelling that it “just sucks you in.”

He and Murphy have worked hard on the project for a few years, he said, adding, “To see that the goal was met is surreal, especially in this economy.”

Murphy lives in California and is a writer/producer for History Channel and Travel Channel. He said the project should be complete by late 2012.

The 90-minute documentary, “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown,” examines the corruption that permeated the area and took down a once loved politician.

Traficant was released from federal prison in 2009 after serving seven years for bribery, racketeering and other charges.

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