Timeline Of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.'s Political Life

  • Nov. 5, 1980: Elected sheriff of Mahoning County. Gains national attention while sheriff from 1981-1984 for refusing to enforce foreclosure orders on the homes of several unemployed steelworkers.
  • Aug. 9, 1982: Pleads innocent to two-count federal indictment alleging bribery and tax evasion.
  • April 23, 1983: Trial begins in which Traficant defends himself and admits taking money from mobsters to overlook gambling, loan-sharking, drug trafficking and prostitution, saying it was part of a sting operation in Mahoning County.
  • June 16, 1983: Acquitted of bribery charges.
  • Nov. 6, 1984: He unseats Republican Lyle Williams by 17,565 votes to win election to House of Representatives in northeast Ohio's 17th District.
  • Nov. 10, 1987: U.S. Tax Court rules Traficant owes $108,000 in taxes on the $163,000 he accepted from mobsters in 1980. Traficant paychecks are garnisheed by the IRS.
  • 1988: Traficant runs for president in Democratic primaries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and wins one delegate.
  • Sept. 22, 1993: Traficant accompanies Cleveland-area autoworker John Demjanjuk back to Ohio from Israel, where Demjanjuk was acquitted of being former Nazi gas chamber operator "Ivan the Terrible." Traficant had lobbied vigorously on Demjanjuk's behalf.
  • Jan. 28, 2000: Traficant announces during re-election campaign that he has turned over telephone, rent and payroll records to investigators in a federal corruption probe.
  • Feb. 22, 2000: He says during a campaign debate that he won't resign despite the federal investigation of his activities.
  • March 7, 2000: He wins re-nomination in a four-way Democratic primary despite his prediction that he would be indicted.
  • Nov. 7, 2000: Traficant wins a ninth term with 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race.
  • Jan. 3, 2001: He follows through on his threat and votes to re-elect Republican Dennis Hastert as House speaker. Democrats retaliate by refusing to give him a committee assignment.
  • May 4, 2001: A federal grand jury indicts Traficant on 10-count indictment, including bribery, conspiracy and racketeering.
  • May 11, 2001: Traficant pleads innocent to all charges and tells the judge it's "asinine" to question his ability to defend himself.
  • Dec. 7, 2001: Judge allows Traficant to defend himself in court, even though he's not an attorney, but refuses to arrange the trial schedule to accommodate his congressional duties.
  • Jan. 23, 2002: Ohio's Republican-controlled legislature eliminates Traficant's Youngstown-area district to reflect population shift, reducing Ohio's congressional delegation from 19 to 18.
  • Feb. 5, 2002: Trial begins in U.S. District Court in Cleveland and Traficant quickly challenges the judge on trial arrangements, including a video feed to a second courtroom and scope of the jury pool.
  • Feb. 20, 2002: Traficant says he will run for re-election as an independent in the newly drawn 17th congressional district.
  • April 11, 2002: Traficant convicted of all 10 charges.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)