Former Traficant Juror Helps Imprisoned Former Congressman's Campaign

GIRARD, Ohio (AP) - A juror who helped convict James A. Traficant Jr. on racketeering charges is volunteering at the former congressman's campaign office.

Leo Glaser, 54, a design engineering technician for FirstEnergy Corp. and a resident of the Cleveland suburb of Independence, Tuesday night visited Traficant's campaign office in Girard, the Warren Tribune Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Glaser said he is now convinced Traficant (pictured, above) was convicted on trumped-up charges.

"I hope people do send a message to the politicians in D.C. to let them (the people) decide who gets elected, and they should stay out of the process," he said.

In July, Traficant filed a motion arguing the testimony of Virginia business executive Richard Detore before the House ethics committee raised questions about the conduct of prosecutors.

Detore didn't testify during Traficant's trial. Before the ethics committee, he said government prosecutors tried to pressure him into lying about Traficant so they could convict the congressman.

Glaser spoke with Traficant briefly after the trial in a hallway of the federal courthouse in Cleveland.

"Richard Detore's testimony (before Congress) was my reasonable doubt," said Glaser, who was juror No. 8 at the trial. "I feel that I got cheated. I didn't make the wrong decision, but it was the only decision I had based on the information I had."

Detore's trial testimony could have concerned whether he funneled bribes from U.S. Aerospace Group, where he worked, to Traficant.

During ethics subcommittee hearings in July that eventually resulted in Traficant's expulsion from Congress, Detore insisted Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig S. Morford, the lead prosecutor, ordered him to lie.

Morford flatly denied the charge.

"One of the questions we had (in the deliberations) was how come Richard Detore didn't testify? He was a key cog. When he testified in the ethics committee, I realized why he didn't," Glaser said.

Even though he is in prison, Traficant seeks to be elected to a 10th term in the House of Representatives. He's running in a redrawn 17th District against Democratic state Sen. Tim Ryan and Republican state Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin.

Jim Bunosky, Traficant's campaign manager, praised Glaser's involvement with the campaign. He said people concerned about the Traficant conviction have been "looking for a reasonable doubt."

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