- City suspends liquor license for downtown Cape bar; owners say they want to fix problems (3/26/17)6
- Mall aboard: Future requires evolution at West Park Mall (3/24/17)24
- Legal discrimination complaint, ethics complaint filed in Scott City government (3/22/17)13
- Business notebook: Cape native goes from farm to mobile-food operation (3/20/17)1
- Former Southeast softball coach sues Board of Regents; seeks damages and her job back (3/23/17)15
- Former Scott City administrator: 'I was forced to resign' (3/21/17)6
- Triplett manslaughter case set for July 2018 (3/21/17)2
- Two people found dead in Advance house fire (3/21/17)
- Two Cape men charged with second-degree murder of Grandi (3/21/17)2
- Lawmakers put prevailing wage in crosshairs; laborers object (2/12/17)10
Embattled Traficant clings to his conspiracy defense
WASHINGTON -- Confrontational to the end, Rep. James Traficant on Wednesday accused House ethics panel lawyers of lying, the federal government of a vendetta and the jury that convicted him of not liking him because of his attitude.
"I've been railroaded once and I'll be damned if I'll be railroaded again," Traficant shouted over the pounding gavel of House Ethics Chairman Joel Hefley, who tried futilely to get the flamboyant Ohio Democrat to calm down.
Traficant, convicted in April by a federal jury of bribery, tax evasion and racketeering, concluded his defense against House ethics violations with rants against people he accused of aligning themselves against him.
He complained bitterly to the eight-member panel about an FBI vendetta. "You're looking at the No. 1 target of the Justice Department, and I hate those bastards, and I think that America's starting to hate them too," Traficant said.
Lawmakers are deciding whether Traficant is guilty of accusations that he engaged in a "continuing pattern and practice of official misconduct" connected to the charges that he was found guilty of after a nine-week trial in Cleveland.
The panel will announce today whether they have made a decision or need more time to deliberate, Hefley said.
Traficant, who has been abrasive to committee lawyers and panel members throughout the hearing, has indicated he expects to be found guilty again.
"God almighty here. What happened to me in Cleveland is what's happening to me here," Traficant shouted. "I infuriated a jury that convicted me over my attitude without a damn bit of evidence."
Prosecutors have recommended he serve at least 7-1/4 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30.
Traficant, who is not a lawyer, defended himself both in court and before his peers against charges that he took kickbacks from employees, encouraged the destruction of evidence, solicited bribes and other gifts from businessmen and filed false income tax returns.