CLEVELAND – James Traficant, the Ohio Democratic congressman defending himself against charges of bribery and conspiracy charges, may get an additional 60 days to mount his defense
Government prosecutors said Wednesday they would put off the trial, scheduled to begin next month, in order to allow new lawyers for Traficant co-defendant, Richard Detore, to prepare their defense.
Detore is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate federal bribery laws by serving as liaison between his former employer, U.S. Aerospace Group, and Traficant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Morford said the government "does not oppose a short continuance of the trial date" but rejects a 60-day extension. Morford also said the government opposes Detore's request to be tried separately.
Traficant, who is not a lawyer, is defending himself against accusations he accepted gifts and favors from local businesses in exchange for his using his influence in Congress.
The nine-term representative and Detore both deny the charges.
Traficant is planning to run for re-election, which could put him in the position of attending court sessions during the congressional campaign season depending on the start and length of the trial.
However, the filing deadline of Feb. 21 and primary on May 7 may be pushed back because of disputes over Ohio's redistricting plans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.