September 7th, 2009
11:21 AM ET
11 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. Scott, Tucson

    I'd bet that this crook is still drawing his full congressional salary at our expense.

    September 7, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. MJ

    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.

    September 7, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Chris

    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.

    September 7, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Dean

    racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery................................This sounds like a good prospect for a high position in the Obama administration.

    September 7, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. JimmyfromNewYork

    I feel bad for that poor squirrel on his head.

    September 7, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Ernesto

    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.

    September 7, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    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.

    September 7, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Terry from West Texas

    Maybe there is someone else in Ohio who would be a good candidate for public office. Mr. Traficant can surely find a position elsewhere.

    September 7, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Wise Latina

    Dems love a crooked politician...

    September 7, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. J Williamson

    I'm completely embarrassed for this man, since he obviously hasn't the good sense to be embarrassed for himself.

    September 7, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Johnson Mugenyi

    Very interesting Guy. I love his wig.

    September 7, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. demwit

    Hurry for mindlessly corrupt Democrats!!

    September 7, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. paula

    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.

    September 7, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Neil

    So get him out of prison send him to congress? What an idiot. And we are surprised that congress is so horrible. WAKE UP!!!

    September 7, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Blue

    Good to have him back. He added color to the Congress.

    September 7, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    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. 🙂

    September 7, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Dan, TX

    My goodness, a democrat who acts like a republican!

    September 7, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Since losing their Teddy, I'm glad the democrats have another one of their heroes and role-models back. 🙂

    September 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Mike1952

    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.

    September 7, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Jose, San Diego

    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.

    September 7, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Still_in_Moderation_!

    'What"s that on his head? It"s a wig!' (with apologies to the B-52's)

    September 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. timkens

    Nice hair.

    September 7, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. devon

    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....??????

    September 7, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. citizenhawk

    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!

    September 7, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Is it 2010 yet?

    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..............

    September 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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