Government Asks Judge To Reject Traficant Motion For New Trial

CLEVELAND (AP) - Government prosecutors are asking a federal judge to reject U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.'s request for a new corruption trail, saying Traficant has not proven his rights were violated in the trail that ended with his April conviction.

A jury found the nine-term Youngstown congressman guilty of 10 counts of bribery, tax evasion and racketeering. The maximum penalty for the charges is 63 years in jail, but under federal sentencing guidelines he is likely to get less than 20 years. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 27.

Traficant (pictured, above) filed a motion April 22 asking for a new trial, saying the judge violated his rights.

Though he defended himself in court, Traficant hired two lawyers to draft the motion. The motion argues that since the jury was drawn from the Cleveland area, citizens of Youngstown were improperly excluded from the case.

In a reply filed Wednesday, the government counters that Traficant is entitled to a jury drawn from "the state and district" in which the crime was committed.

Judge Lesley Wells said during the trial that she was limiting jury selection to the Cleveland area to prevent jurors traveling many miles to court, as set out in the court's jury-selection plan.

"There is no constitutional requirement that a defendant's jurors be selected from or include individuals from a specific geographic division within a federal judicial district," the government argues.

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