September 7th, 2009
11:21 AM ET
5 years ago

Rousing welcome home for Traficant

Traficant got a rousing reception Sunday night.
Traficant got a rousing reception Sunday night.

(CNN) - Former Rep. James Traficant had a triumphant homecoming Sunday night, his first public appearance since being released from federal prison, a local paper reports.

The Youngstown Vindicator said Monday a supporter-organized welcome home dinner for the former Democratic congressman, which drew the capacity crowd of roughly 1,200 Sunday, included performances by an Elvis impersonator and a polka band, as well as a speech from Traficant himself.

The newspaper reported that Traficant was defiant, telling listeners that he'd "been hounded by some government people for a long time" and that the government "had to cheat to convict me."

"'If you want to know the true nature of a country, you must go through its prisons,'" said Traficant, quoting former South African leader Nelson Mandela, who spent nearly three decades in prison. "I know America. I've seen the other side of it, and I don't like it."

Traficant was released Wednesday after serving just over seven years in federal custody for charges that included racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery.

The Vindicator reported that Columbiana County Republican Chairman David Johnson, who tried to defeat Traficant for years, was on hand for the event, and said the former congressman would have his support if he mounted another bid for office.

"I would support (Traficant) tomorrow if he ran for Congress," Johnson told the paper.


Filed under: James Traficant
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    One would think that with all the money he stole he would buy a toupee that looks real!

    September 7, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Bob

    Once a crook, always a crook. Tell em what they want to hear.

    His statement about life behind bars is relevant however. It's not just a place where you do your time, but it has its own political institutions. It is far rougher to carefully walk a fine line there. You are required to takes sides and swear allegiance to death.

    Maybe that lesson will help Mr. Traficant handle life outside bars better than it did before he was convicted of the crimes he committed.

    September 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Tom

    What a shame, people greeting this guy like he's a hero, he was sworn it to work for the American People, and didn't. It shows how people have their morals backwards, they should be welcoming soldiers back from war, ant throwing rocks at this guy. To me it doesn't matter what party your from, if your a thief, throw them in JAIL

    September 7, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. southerncousin

    Sounds like he is ready for an Obama cabinet position or at least a "czar" job. A liberal kind of guy.

    September 7, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. lefty loosy

    Perhaps Obama has a place in his administration for him.

    September 7, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Just what we don't need another criminal in Congress.

    September 7, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. ck

    Any wonder why politicians are getting more and more bold about their lying and corruption??

    The IDIOTS that cheer this man get exactly what they deserve... unfortunately the rest of us do too.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!

    September 7, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Thomas5

    A Democrat evading taxes? Well there simply must be some mistake.

    September 7, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Ernie in LA

    Some people will always try to justify what they do no matter how wrong it is. He will stand before God one day and truly pay for what he did.

    September 7, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Tom in Florida

    Am I just imagining things, or did something in the prison make a nest in Traficant's head?

    September 7, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Jackalope

    So is the dude with the wombat on his head going to switch to the Republican party, or will he be a "Blue Dog" Democrat?

    "The Vindicator reported that Columbiana County Republican Chairman David Johnson, who tried to defeat Traficant for years, was on hand for the event, and said the former congressman would have his support if he mounted another bid for office.

    "I would support (Traficant) tomorrow if he ran for Congress," Johnson told the paper."

    September 7, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. RR

    typical.

    In a democracy, the people always get the government they deserve.

    September 7, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Charles Nicolson

    David Johnson is just as sick as Trafficante. Why in God's name
    would we want ANOTHER FELON in a Government Office???

    September 7, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Dave in Illinois

    The epitome of a liberal Democratic Congressman. Convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery, and he of course blames the governement of denying him his right to do these things.

    September 7, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Dan in the great State of Virginia

    Simpletons are willing to vote for those to they can relate to, regardless of corruption. Our founders probably knew The Constitution was not sufficient. At least they tried. God, or fate, help us.

    September 7, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. John H

    What a sad state for America – where a traitor to his own constituents gets a hero's welcome! Or is just an outpouring of the obvious stupidity of Americans?

    With gesturing like this, America gets what it deserves!

    September 7, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Jeff G

    Shouldn't the headline read "Cheers for ex-convict EX-congressman"?

    He's as much an ex for his office as he is for his incarceration.

    September 7, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. J.C.

    Convicted House Representative got a hero's welcome home.
    Is it cool to have been in the jail now?

    It's very hard to convict anybody these days. I wonder why these 1,200 supporters did not raise money for him to hire better lawyers to keep him out of jail in the first place.

    September 7, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. Flipper

    Yet another corrupt Dem who craves power, makes pathetic excuses, refuses to take responsibility for his crimes, and believes he's entitled to an important government position.

    The Dems would be idiots if the publicly embraced this guy.

    September 7, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Bayousara

    Oh, come on!

    Somewhere in all those charges is a teesie weesie one that is true!

    September 7, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. steve in k.c.

    We are looking more and more like a third world country. Worshipping convicts is usually the first step.

    September 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. Larry

    Comparing himself to Mandela ????

    What an egotistical, arrogant moron Traficant is

    September 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Ask not what big business can do for you but what can you do for big business

    What does he have to offer big business? Can he sell out the American people with bogus trade practices? If not he might as well stay home.

    September 7, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. AbraGina

    I'm sure there is a position in the new administration for him....OH WAIT, one just opened up, perfect timing. Green Jobs Czar.

    September 7, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Hugo

    You would think our tax dollars could have purchased a little better rug for this clown while in our prison wouldn't you? I wonder if he lost his Federal pension and healthcare plan subsequent to his felony convictions?

    September 7, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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