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House Panel Finds Traficant Guilty of Ethics Violations

BY Admin  July 18, 2002 at 3:30 PM EST

The committee’s decision brings the outspoken congressman closer to a possible expulsion from the House of Representatives. The committee must now evaluate whether the charges against Traficant are serious enough to deem expulsion from Congress or if a lighter punishment is more appropriate.

Sitting in front of the eight-member subcommittee that found him guilty on nine of ten ethics violations, Traficant asked the chairman to “go light” on him. The flamboyant congressman has maintained his innocence, defending himself in both his criminal trials and congressional hearings.

“I will die in jail before I will admit to doing something I did not do. I had no intent to break any laws. There’s one big word in this legal dictionary and it’s called ‘intent,’” Traficant said during his closing statement.

The full 10-member House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is slated to meet Thursday to decide a recommendation for Traficant’s fate. If the committee decides to expel him, the Ohio representative may defend himself in front of the full 435-member House assembly.

After Thursday’s verdict, Traficant said, “They’re probably doing to expel me. I don’t blame them.”

A federal jury in Cleveland convicted the nine-term congressman in April. He faces a possible jail term of at least seven years at the July 30 sentencing.