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US Congress Expels James Traficant - 2002-07-25


For only the fifth time in its more than 200-year history, the House of Representatives has expelled one of its members. The colorful and abrasive Ohio congressman, James Traficant, who was convicted in April on corruption and tax evasion charges, appeared on the floor of the House to try and avert his expulsion.

The House interrupted its work on important legislation for the historic vote to expel Mr. Traficant.

"Pursuant to Article I, Section V, Clause II of the U.S. Constitution, Representative James A. Traficant, Junior be and he hereby is, expelled from the House of Representatives," the clerk said.

Turning down last minute appeals by some lawmakers to delay, members one-by-one made the case for the expulsion. Then Mr. Traficant was given 45 minutes to make his case.

"And they're not going to frighten me. I'm ready to go to jail. I'll go to jail before I admit to a crime I didn't commit," he said.

Mr. Traficant maintained there were irregularities in his trial and blamed the government for what he called a conspiracy against him.

The House voted overwhelmingly (420-1) for expulsion.

The now former congressman is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

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