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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
US congressman guilty of corruption
James Traficant (centre) surrounded by reporters
Conviction will end Traficant's long political career
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By Steve Kingston
BBC correspondent in Washington
line

One of America's most flamboyant politicians has been found guilty of bribery, corruption and racketeering.

James Traficant
Traficant is known for his wild hairstyle and colourful suits
James Traficant, a congressman from Ohio, now faces up to 63 years in prison.

Senior members of the Democratic party which he has represented in Congress for nearly 20 years are calling for his resignation.

Failing that, he could be expelled from the House of Representatives - something that has happened only once in the past 140 years.

'Loud trial'

Traficant arrived at court late to hear 10 guilty verdicts against him on various charges of bribery, racketeering and fraud.

During the nine-week trial the jury in Cleveland had heard allegations that the 60-year-old congressman had routinely extorted money from constituents and staff.

He had filed false tax returns and accepted bribes from businessmen seeking political help.

Known for his wild hairstyle and colourful suits, Traficant had chosen to defend himself, arguing that the authorities had been out to get him ever since 1983.

In that year he had successfully defended himself against bribery accusations.

This trial was loud and raucous. Traficant clashed with the judge and crudely questioned the manhood of one of the prosecutors.

See also:

22 Dec 00 | Americas
Clinton pardons fraudster
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