Judge: Traficant Can Defend Himself
CLEVELAND – A federal judge ruled Friday that Ohio Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. can represent himself at his upcoming criminal trial, even though he is not a lawyer.
In a separate ruling, U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells rejected Traficant's motion to suppress the testimony of witnesses with whom the government has plea agreements.
Traficant argued that a recommendation for a reduced sentence in exchange for guilty pleas and testimony is illegal and amounts to bribery.
The judge also denied a Traficant motion for the court to grant trial continuances whenever his congressional duties conflict with the trial schedule.
Traficant, 60, has pleaded innocent in federal court to bribery and racketeering charges. His trial begins Feb. 4.
The Democrat faces 10 charges based on allegations of his accepting cash and services in exchange for helping local companies do business with the government.