"Mafia congressman" James Traficant out of jail, considering new congressional run

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James Traficant, the flamboyant former Democratic congressman from Ohio who recently completed a seven-year stint in jail for bribery and racketeering, has announced that he plans to run for Congress this year as an independent. As I detail in my new book, “The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession,” Traficant’s history is much more sordid and disturbing than many realize, in ways that extend well beyond his conviction in 2002.

Traficant emerged out of perhaps the last truly mobbed-up county in America, a place in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley where people were often murdered or disappeared...In an old box in a courthouse, I found a transcript of a tape recording in which Traficant was caught seemingly scheming with the Carabbia brothers...According to the transcript, Traficant acknowledged receiving bribes, and indicated that, in return, he would use the sheriff’s office to protect the Mafia’s rackets. Charlie told Traficant, “Your uncle Tony was my goombah … and we feel that you’re like a brother to us.” Traficant assured his benefactors that he was a “loyal f----r,” and if any of his sheriff’s deputies betrayed them “they’ll f----n' come up swimming in [the] Mahoning River.”...

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