Traficant’s rants should be silenced, in prison

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Ranting and raving by members of the U.S. House of Representatives is not all that unusual. They routinely yell, scream and argue with one another, with opponents and sometimes with constituents &045;&045; though much more rarely.

And of the 435 House members, one name has become synonymous with lots of fuss &045;&045; Traficant. James Traficant to be exact.

The veteran House member is defending his honor &045;&045; or what’s left of it &045;&045; this week before a committee of his peers.

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Traficant, D-Ohio, was convicted in April of bribery, fraud and tax evasion charges.

Due to the felony convictions, Traficant is being reviewed by a House ethics committee. The committee is considering whether he should be expelled for the charges.

The obvious answer is &uot;yes.&uot;

Traficant is arguably a brilliant courtroom defender. He can argue with the best attorneys about the finer points of the law &045;&045; especially when doing so will save his hide.

In testimony Tuesday, one of the committee members asked Traficant if he wanted them to believe some of the circumstances surrounding his arrest were a coincidence.

&uot;I don’t deal in coincidences, I deal in facts,&uot; Traficant said.

We do, too.

The facts are simple.

Years of extravagant living have caught up with Traficant. Now, rather than face his charges and admit he’s done wrong, Traficant continues to scream about an elaborate conspiracy by the government to frame him.

Obviously, the federal court saw the facts a bit differently. Traficant will be sentenced at the end of this month. He faces a potential sentence of several years in prison.

Perhaps then, behind the bars of a federal prison, Traficant’s rants will be silenced.