Traficant appeal issues: double jeopardy, trial jury selection error

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. believes he was subjected to double jeopardy when federal prosecutors and the U.S. House of Representatives both tried him for the same crimes, according to legal papers filed in his appeal.

Traficant (pictured, right) also alleges the way the jury was selected in his Cleveland trial gave the government an advantage, an argument that was tossed aside by presiding U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells when the congressman raised it before, during and after his trial.

He represented himself at the trial last year, although he is not a lawyer.

William Edwards, first assistant U.S. attorney in Cleveland, had no comment Monday on the filing because the matter is still in litigation.

The government's response to Traficants arguments is due Feb. 10.

Traficant, 61, is serving eight years in the Allenwood federal prison after being convicted April 11 of bribery and racketeering.

The former nine-term Democratic congressman from northeast Ohio's Mahoning Valley is serving time in White Deer, Pa.

The Tribune Chronicle of Warren reported Tuesday that an appeal brief was sent to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Friday. Attorney Richard Kerger of Toledo has requested a chance to present the appeal in an oral argument to the court.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)