(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.
I'd bet that this crook is still drawing his full congressional salary at our expense.
Say what? A hero's welcome for a convicted criminal! Running for office again. Guess it makes sense ... most in office are crooks. He should fit right in.
WAKEUP!!! Are we really that asleep. This so called representative of the people was convicted for a litany of charges: racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery. He receives the best health care and pension(even though he is a crook) paid for with your hard-earned money. And you are throwing this convict a party for getting out of jail! What a sad state.
racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery................................This sounds like a good prospect for a high position in the Obama administration.
I feel bad for that poor squirrel on his head.
A fine law-breaking politician deserves a hero's welcome. At least now he has a skill. Racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery must be very profitable in a community that celebrates them. Remind me not to move to Ohio.
As crooked and he was said to be – he is still more honest about subjects that matter than others who are currently serving in the US House – Not sure if he can again run for office – but wish him the best at whatever he legally wants to do.
Maybe there is someone else in Ohio who would be a good candidate for public office. Mr. Traficant can surely find a position elsewhere.
Dems love a crooked politician...
I'm completely embarrassed for this man, since he obviously hasn't the good sense to be embarrassed for himself.
Very interesting Guy. I love his wig.
Hurry for mindlessly corrupt Democrats!!
Using a quote from Mandela to compare the two of them? Disgusting. He's an ex-con who did time in federal prison...nothing like Mandela, falsely imprisoned for decades in South African jails.
So get him out of prison send him to congress? What an idiot. And we are surprised that congress is so horrible. WAKE UP!!!
Good to have him back. He added color to the Congress.
Since they lost Teddy, I'm glad the democrats have another one of their heroes and role-models back. Obama needs all the help he can get. :-)
My goodness, a democrat who acts like a republican!
Since losing their Teddy, I'm glad the democrats have another one of their heroes and role-models back. :-)
How shameful! Our society has eroded to the point we champion convicted criminals that were entrusted with public office. Oh well, we have euthanasia advocates and public sterilization advocates in the Whitehouse. What's new.
Traficant is no different than Hatch, Lieberman, McConnell, anybody else you want to mention in our elective assemblies - oh wait, except that he's working class and so doesn't get a "Get out of Jail Free" card like the silver-spoon set. He is great political theater though.
'What"s that on his head? It"s a wig!' (with apologies to the B-52's)
Let's get a breakdown of what we know so far:
1. He does not like America (his own words)
2. He thinks his plight was bad enough to quote Mandela.... that is scary
3. He is having people openly state they would get behind him today if he ran for office again....??????
I am a Conservative Republican and I love Congressman James Trafficant. I feel he was wrongfully tried and convicted on phony accusations and charges by the New World Order Crimminalarchy and their operatives! I accuse the Bush Admin. of this crime! I want justice for this Ameircan patriot and hero! Lets put W in jail where he belongs!
Help Wanted – Democrat who isn't a lying, fraud of a coward, must pay taxes and not have a record – Apply to Obama administraion immediately as a vacancy just opened up.
This spot would NEVER get filled, I can hear the sheep already, he did so much for the people, it's Bush's fault, it was the right-wing conspiracy, he was railroaded, taken out of context, again it was BUSH'S FAULT..............