House votes to expel Ohio Rep. Traficant

Thursday, July 25, 2002

WASHINGTON -- The House on Wednesday expelled Ohio Rep. James Traficant for taking bribes and kickbacks, only the second time since the Civil War that it has removed a sitting member for unethical conduct.

Representatives voted 420-1 to immediately banish the nine-term Democrat after a federal jury in Cleveland convicted him and a House ethic panel recommended his removal. Nine lawmakers voted present.

Traficant, 61, was defiant to the end.

"I'm prepared to lose everything. I'm prepared to go to jail. You go ahead and expel me," he said, maintaining his innocence and claiming that government prosecutors coerced witnesses to lie in order to win the court convictions against him.

In his final plea, the House veteran of nearly 18 years told his colleagues, "My people elected me and I don't think you should take their representative away." But he added, "Vote your conscience. Nothing personal. I hope I'm back."

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