YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Congressman James A. Traficant Jr. pleaded innocent Friday to a 10-count indictment charging him with taking kickbacks from staff members and payoffs from people looking for favors.
Just before his arraignment, Traficant, who successfully defended himself against bribery charges 18 years ago, was given permission to represent himself, although he is not a lawyer.
Federal Magistrate Judge George Limbert released Traficant, a nine-term congressman, on a $50,000 signature bond that did not require any cash deposit. Traficant must surrender his passport and may travel outside northeast Ohio without prior approval only for work-related travel to Washington.
Traficant, 60, was indicted last week on charges that include racketeering, bribery and conspiracy. If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to 63 years in prison and fined $2.2 million.