Traficant Says He Will Run For Re-Election Despite Trial
December 21, 2001 at 11:34 PM EST - Updated July 1 at 8:40 AM
By PAUL SINGER, Associated Press Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - U.S. Rep. James Traficant (pictured, right) says he plans to run for re-election next year even though he's facing a corruption trial scheduled to begin in February.
Traficant made the statement after a court appearance in Cleveland on Friday.
"I sure as hell won't be pushed around and intimidated," Traficant said. "I've got to see where the district is, and wherever the district is, I'll be filing in that district."
The filing deadline for congressional candidates in Ohio is currently set for February 21, and the congressional primary is May 7. But the legislature has not yet completed work on a mandatory redistricting plan, so the filing and primary dates may have to be moved back.
In a status hearing Friday, Judge Lesley Wells said she expects Traficant's corruption trial to begin Feb. 4 and last six to eight weeks. Traficant -- who is not an attorney but is defending himself -- said it could take even longer.
Traficant was indicted in May on 10 counts of bribery and corruption. He is accused of accepting cash and personal favors from local businessmen in exchange for intervening with federal agencies on behalf of their companies.
The nine-term congressman maintains his innocence, and accuses the federal prosecutors on his case of bullying witnesses into testifying against him.
Traficant's co-defendant, Richard Detore, who is accused of conspiring with Traficant to violate federal bribery laws, asked that the trial be delayed at least 60 days, because Detore was not indicted until Oct. 26 and did not hire a lawyer until Dec. 18.
Detore's attorney, John Dowd, also said he plans to request that Detore be tried separately. "I don't want to be associated with (Traficant's) antics," Dowd told reporters.
Traficant said he supports separating the cases and having Detore tried first, which would push his trial back further.
Traficant's 17th district includes Columbiana, Trumbull and Mahoning counties in northeast Ohio.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)