Traficant Wants Judge to Let Two Lawyers Aid His Appeal

Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., who represented himself during his recent bribery trial, asked a federal judge Friday to allow two attorneys to help him appeal his conviction.

Traficant was found guilty in April of bribery, racketeering and other charges after he was accused of taking bribes and gifts from businessmen in exchange for his influence. Sentencing is scheduled next month.

Traficant, a Democrat, said in a memo to the court that he needs the lawyers to help him challenge the legality of jury selection.

The trial was held in Cleveland, and Judge Lesley Wells said standard procedure was to draw jurors from nine counties surrounding the city. That excluded prospective jurors from Youngstown — Traficant's hometown — and other parts of his congressional district.

Traficant, who is not a lawyer, asked to add Columbus attorneys Percy Squire and Lloyd Pierre-Louis to his defense team. Government attorneys could not be reached for comment Friday on Traficant's motion.

Despite the conviction, Traficant is running for re-election as an independent.