Sunday, January 30, 2000

Traficant hands over records, denies wrongdoing

The Associated Press

        YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — U.S. Rep. James Traficant said he is not concerned that federal authorities are once again investigating his alleged ties to organized crime.

        Mr. Traficant, D-Ohio, turned over some office records to investigators of a task force probing crime and corruption in Mahoning County after receiving three subpoenas.

        “I have nothing to hide,” Mr. Traficant said in a two-page statement released Friday. “In fact, most of the documents subpoenaed are public documents that any citizen can look at simply by going to their local library.”

        The congressman said he was issued the subpoenas last month from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Ohio, and complied Jan. 6 by handing over telephone, rent and payroll records.

        A phone message left Saturday at the office of U.S. Attorney Emily Sweeney was not returned. A phone message seeking comment left Saturday at Mr. Traficant's office was not returned.

        The outspoken Mr. Traficant has been critical of the Justice Department in the past. He has demanded Attorney General Janet Reno resign for her handling of the 1993 deaths of Branch Davidians in a raid at Waco, Texas, and the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

        “I have done nothing wrong. End of story,” said Mr. Traficant, who has represented this eastern Ohio city and surrounding counties since 1985.

        Mr. Traficant was cleared of bribery and tax evasion charges in 1983 when he was Mahoning County sheriff, and was indirectly touched by scandal in 1998 when longtime aide Charles O'Nesti was convicted of racketeering as part of a broad federal probe into the local mafia. About 50 people have been convicted or have pleaded guilty in that investigation.


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- Traficant hands over records, denies wrongdoing