1,200 supporters turn out to welcome
former Rep. James Traficant
home from federal prison
BOARDMAN, Ohio -- Seven years in prison doesn't appear to have changed former U.S. Rep. James Traficant's style whatsoever, and the 1,200 supporters who gathered at a Boardman banquet hall Sunday afternoon loved him for it.
"I was a quarterback. I was a congressman. Now I'm a convict," Traficant said, his signature toupee firmly back atop his head. "I wouldn't change one single thing. And to the powerful enemies that I have, I'll just say this to you: They had to cheat to convict me.
The crowd roared. After 15 minutes of remarks, hundreds swarmed the make-shift stage to shake his hand or ask for an autograph.
At least to a certain segment of the Mahoning Valley, Traficant remains a hero who was wrongfully convicted. The former Democratic congressman remained coy about his plans, but told the crowd several times that he will make some major announcements in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on her show scheduled to air 10 p.m. Friday on the Fox News network.
James A. Traficant Jr, who served 17 years in Congress and seven years in federal prison, appears with his wife, Tish, as he talks to supporters and friends at the Jim Traficant Appreciation Dinner Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009, in Boardman, Ohio.
"I think it was wonderful and I think he tried to get back to do what he says," Mary Lamarra, who came to the party from Salineville in Columbiana County, said after Traficant's speech. She said she would vote for Traficant, "even if I was a Republican, which I'm not."
Traficant hadn't been seen in town since his release from a federal prison in Minnesota on Wednesday, where he was serving out his sentence for a bribery conviction in 2002.
Organizers of Sunday's party kept the crowd entertained until his arrival with an Elvis impersonator and a Traficant look-a-like contest. "Welcome home Jimbo" was printed on T-shirts, written in icing on giant sheet cakes and screamed by his faithful, who started lining up well before the doors opened at Mr. Anthony's banquet center in Boardman.
At times it was hard to tell if Traficant was joking or lashing out. He warned the crowd that agents from the FBI and IRS were probably in the parking lot taking down license-plate numbers, to which the crowd laughed. They then grew serious when he said Northeast Ohio had to start changing the country, because so many others are afraid to stand up to the government.
"I think it's time to tell the FBI and the IRS that this is our country and we're tired - tired of the pressure, tired of the political targeting, tired of a powerful central government that is crippling America," he said.
The crowd may have been rapturous inside the banquet hall, but Traficant's homecoming wasn't welcome news to everyone in the region.
June Lucas, a former state representative from Trumbull County who was in office while Traficant was still in Congress, did not attend and dismissed the hubbub.
"The valley has moved way past him," she said. "The corruption is still here, but they've moved past him."
Lucas didn't doubt, though, that he will loudly assert himself back into society.
"I expect he will be persuaded to run again or whatever or that he will take some sort of very public role," she said.
Traficant is now 68 and spent the last part of his imprisonment in a prison hospital. Comfortable once again with a microphone in his hand and adoring crowds cheering his every word, observers couldn't help but notice that Jimbo seemed to come through the last seven years as if it were seven days. And now there's no mistaking that he really is back.
Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" airs an interview with Jim Traficant at 10 P.M. tonight, where the ex-con ex-congressman discusses life in prison but plays coy when asked whether he plans to run again for Congress.
"I don't know yet...if I do run, get your best hold, because I will be running downhill with my tails flapping in the wind wide open," the Youngstown-area political fixture told Van Susteren. "But I have some grudges, and I want to go at them...they came to me and said if I said I was guilty, I might even get a pardon. And I told them to shove the pardon up their derriere sideways."
Seven years behind bars on corruption charges clearly hasn't diminished Traficant's rhetorical chops. FOX News Channel's press release on the show is packed with so many fresh Traficant-isms, we don't want to deny our readers a single one. So here they are:
ON LIFE IN PRISON:
"I come from seven years up at Rochester...a lot of good guys in there. They're sort of like family in a way. It's a different experience."
"The first place I went was Allenwood, and I think the reason I went there is there were a lot of illegal immigrants there. And they knew I had the troops on the border...I think I was put in a position to be hurt."
"Then I went to a place called Ray Brook up in upstate New York, known as "The Gladiator School. There's a lot of violence. Well, it was a medium high...most political figures go to some camps in country clubs. I didn't."
"I mean, I was a prisoner, but I understood the dynamics of prison life. And now what you have is, they want to keep the prisons open, keep the jobs going. They're putting 20, 30 years on some of these young people, and it's out of hand."
ON HIS FUTURE:
"I forfeited my future, and I didn't give a damn what they did to me. And from this day forward, I don't give a damn what anybody does to me. I'm going to say what I think is right, I'm going to do what I think is right."
"And if it offends some people, then so be it. You see, because I'm still, I guess, the same jackass I was."
"Now, people laughed when I called for the depression. Stevie Wonder could see this coming. Stevie Wonder could see America's troubles now."
ON WHETHER HE IS AN ANTI-SEMITE:
"No, I'm not. And that's exactly what they're going to say. And I expect that."
"I believe that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government. They control both members of the House, the House and the Senate. They have us involved in wars in which we have little or no interest."
There are alot of "easily fooled people" out there, naive and ignorant, whose source of truth is the evening news (and they believe it all), who continually believe all that the government tells them despite all the lies and cover ups exposed, and who think Jim Traficant was guilty as charged. Those people in "OZ" may never recieve a brain from the "WIZARD". Even the "WIZARD" may not deem them worthy to recieve a brain because the one they have is not being used.....it has been stuffed so full like a Thanksgiving turkey with government stuffing and there is no room for anything else.
These people are a large part of the problem in America! THEY are the ones who scare me!
Jim Traficant was set up because he had a conscience and some character and started talking about major deceptions, that came to be known to him, our government didn't want us to be knowledgeable of. I didn't say he was a choir boy folks....none of us are. Click the following link and read the speech he gave on the congressional floor exposing huge government fraud:
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...AN ILLEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT
After false charges, a phoney trial horribly manipulated by a crooked federal judge, and even after 7 years in the "pen"......7 years stolen from his and his family's lives.....and even with the powerful enemies he has in government, this guy Traficant comes back into society ready to squawk like a rooster and pick up where he left off 7 years ago on the congressional floor exposing our illegitimate government.
In my opinion, if he were guilty, he would come home quietly without fanfare, shying away from media attention, pick up the pieces of his life and start over. But noooooo!!.....he couldn't dooo THAT..... he came back like a rocket on 4th of July.....in the papers, on radio talk shows, etc.
Jim Traficant has been privy to alot and knows alot. After all he has been through, he still has a deep commitment and desire to share this information with us and is not afraid to do so, no matter the cost. He knows it is still perilous to speak out. Remember what he said above....They then grew serious when he said Northeast Ohio had to start changing the country, because so many others are afraid to stand up to the government. "I think it's time to tell the FBI and the IRS that this is our country and we're tired - tired of the pressure, tired of the political targeting, tired of a powerful central government that is crippling America,".
I'm sorry, but this doesn't sound like a guilty man to me! This sounds like a patriotic man who is deeply committed to a mission. One who will not take the overthrow of our country lying down!
America needs MORE men and women with this kind of courage!
DON'T EVER SHUT YOUR MOUTH JIM!
P.S......from what I understand, when Traficant was Sheriff and the banks were foreclosing on all the steel workers homes due to the loss of that industry in this country, he refused to serve the foreclosure papers to any of them and was jailed for it. I don't know how that could have happened to a Sheriff. Maybe he didn't know the range of a Sheriffs authority back then but the un-constitutional money and way the banks operate is another story for another time. Anyway.....this should show you where his heart was.....for the people.