Feature Articles

February 2002


Part Two

By James Ridgway de Szigethy

Was Traficant's Recent Injury Self-Inflicted?

      Just as the Federal bribery trial of Congressman James Traficant was about to get underway, the fiery politician from Ohio turned up on several national talk shows to complain about the alleged government vendetta against him spawned he says by his humiliating defeat of the Feds in his Mafia bribery trial a generation ago. While appearing via remote hookup on the Fox News Channel�s Hannity & Colmes show, Traficant wildly motioned in the air with his right hand, while an American flag hung behind him. His trademark vertical hair unusually subdued, the visual image during his appearance was dominated by the American flag and a large white bandage around Traficant�s index finger that he frequently pointed into the camera. "By the way," Traficant volunteered, "my finger went through a table saw!"

      Traficant was not through telling members of the Media about his injury; on February 12 the Vindicator revealed that Traficant removed the bandage from his finger to show several reporters covering his bribery trial that there was in fact a wound to his hand and that this was not a "ploy for sympathy."

      Was, however, Traficant�s injury to his hand self-inflicted?

      During Traficant�s 1983 Federal bribery trial, the government ended it�s case with a surprise witness; Sgt. Joseph A. Hudak, a veteran narcotics officer in the Mahoning County Sheriff�s office who was a long-time friend of then-Sheriff Traficant. As reported in the Plain Dealer article �TRAFICANT ASKED TO BE SHOT,� Sgt. Hudak testified that on five occasions Traficant begged him to shoot him so that he could gain public sympathy, as well as a delay in his Mafia bribery trial. Hudak said that one such scenario Traficant created was for him to be working on his farm where the shooting would take place. "He said he would put his hand up and I should shoot him through the hand!" Hudak swore Under Oath. Hudak claimed he then suggested using a .22 caliber. "That�s good," Hudak quoted Traficant as saying; "It�s the kind of gun used by the Mob!"

      The bizarre behavior Hudak attributed to Traficant is typical of much of what has followed Traficant throughout his political career. After Traficant was arrested by the FBI for accepting $163,000 in bribes from members of the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Mafia Families, the head of the Democratic Party in Youngstown went to Court in an attempt to have Traficant declared legally insane so that he could be removed as Sheriff. That attempt failed. Traficant has not made matters better for himself, with statements to the Media such as "I�m a little crazy!" and "If I see someone in my house at night, I�m not going to ask them what they�re doing there; I�m going to kill them!"

      Last year Traficant claimed on the Hannity & Colmes program that Attorney General Janet Reno was an alcoholic lesbian being blackmailed by the Mafia though their possession of a secretly recorded videotape showing Reno having sex with a �Mobbed-up callgirl� and that this tape was used to prevent Reno from appointing a Special Prosecutor to investigate the illegal transfer of secret nuclear and missile technology to the government of Communist China. Pointing his finger right into the camera, Traficant accused Reno of Treason and begged her to sue him.

      For many years Traficant has also accused officers of the CIA of being responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. One Traficant staffer involved in his Pan Am investigation, Boris de Korczak, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court claiming that the CIA had recruited him as a double agent against the KGB and that his CIA case officer extorted a $300,000 bribe from him in return for his promised help in obtaining the government pension Boris claimed was owed him. Boris claims he turned over the bribe, only to be shot in the kidney by an unknown assailant armed with a pellet gun. The CIA denied Boris�s claim he was entitled to a pension and also denied any employee shot Boris with a pellet gun. Boris�s lawsuit was thrown out of Court.

      Boris�s son Robert runs Traficant�s official government website which can be found at this address: At the website are two images of Traficant, one in which Traficant is shown wildly swinging a bat, and another in which Traficant has altered his image to portray an extra-terrestrial from the planet "Vulca" on the hit TV series �Star Trek!�

      Traficant also gained notoriety last year by claiming that an agent of the FBI was on the payroll of the Mafia in Youngstown back in 1962, during the Kennedy Administration. Traficant also claimed that an FBI agent in Youngstown raped a woman, a charge denied by both the FBI agent and his alleged victim.

      The Judge in Traficant�s current trial, Lesley Brooks Wells, has already on several occasions made it clear to Traficant that she will not tolerate any such nonsense from the Congressman who has always been so quick to point his finger at others.

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