Saturday, July 13, 2002

Prosecutors: Jail Traficant 7 years

By Paul Singer
The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — Prosecutors asked a federal court Friday to sentence U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. to at least seven years in prison and said he should serve even more time because of the severity of his corruption convictions.

        But Mr. Traficant's lawyer argued that the congressman should get a shorter sentence because of his years of public service.

        Mr. Traficant was convicted April 11 of 10 counts of bribery, tax evasion and racketeering. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 30.

        The charges against the nine-term Youngstown Democrat carry a statutory maximum punishment of 63 years in jail, but the actual sentence is determined by the complex factors of federal sentencing guidelines.

        Prosecutors said he should get just over seven years. The government then argued the court should add an unspecified amount of time because of the severity of his crimes and lack of remorse.

        “There is a small percentage of cases that warrant the highest sentence available,” prosecutors said in the brief. “This is one such case.”

        Richard Hackerd, Mr. Traficant's lawyer for the sentencing portion of the case, filed a motion late Friday saying Mr. Traficant's sentence should be reduced because of his long record of public service.


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