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December 2002

The Congressman, The Senator,
And The Mafia

By James Ridgway de Szigethy


     The year 2002 has seen the demise of two of the most colorful members of the United States Congress, Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey and Congressman James Traficant of Ohio. Until this year, neither man had ever lost a political campaign. According to the Judge who sentenced the Congressman to prison, Traficant possessed a degree of "entertainment value" that endeared him to many Americans. With his trademark vertical hair – now known to have been a toupee, Traficant would take the floor of the House each day and give his famous "One Minute Speeches" in which he would launch a tirade, with WACO, Janet Reno, Pan Am 103, the CIA, and the IRS frequent targets of his angst. Conspiracy theories abounded inside Traficant’s troubled mind, and a visit to his website offered an animated photo of the Congressman swinging a bat with a wild look in his eyes, while another photograph showed Traficant with his ears altered as an inhabitant of the Planet Vulca from the hit science fiction series STAR TREK. "Beam me up!" Traficant would proclaim at the end of his speeches, a line from the popular series.

     In his own way, Senator Robert Torricelli was equally as colorful, nicknamed "The Torch" because of his volatile temper, which he unleashed on his perceived enemies, including his fellow Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg. Said Lautenberg once to the New Yorker Magazine regarding a confrontation with Torricelli at a Library of Congress event: "He threatened to cut my balls off!"

     By Election night, 2002, Torricelli had quit his re-election bid, to be replaced by his rival Lautenberg, and Traficant was languishing in a Federal Penitentiary. Over 27,000 Ohio citizens voted for Traficant for Congress, even though he was a convicted felon.

     Both men’s fall from Grace can be attributed to the Media’s relentless coverage of their willingness to accept money from crooked businessmen, con artists, and members of the American Mafia, as well as members of an Islamic terrorist organization funded by Iraqi Dictator Suddam Hussein. Just 6 short years ago, Traficant and Torricelli were at the height of their power and popularity; Traficant received 98 percent of the vote in his re-election campaign that year while Torricelli defeated his Republican opponent to become a member of the elite United States Senate. Events that would lead to their demise would soon be underway.

TRAFICANT’S ROAD TO CONGRESS

     Another politician who won an election in November 1996 was Paul Gains, an honest cop who ran for District Attorney of Mahoning County, the seat of Traficant’s Congressional District centered around Youngstown, Ohio. For decades Youngstown had been arguably the most corrupt mid-sized city in America, with its residents referring to it as ‘Murdertown, USA.’ The Mafia had always counted on their candidates to be elected to the key government positions in Youngstown, and without their backing, no one expected Gains to win his race. In a stunning upset, Gains did just that, and as Christmas approached, Gains eagerly anticipated his chance to clean up Youngstown once he took office in January.

     However, the local Mafia, run by Pittsburgh Family Associate Lenny Strollo, decided that Gains had to be eliminated and it was decided that the affable cop would likely let his guard down on Christmas Eve, never expecting an assassination attempt on one of the Holiest days of the year. Thus, Strollo’s hired assassin easily made his way that night into the Gains home. He aimed his gun at Gains and pulled the trigger. The gun fired and the bullet hit its target. Gains collapsed his only recourse was prayer. The assassin once again fired at Gains, missing him as Gains fell. The assassin then leaned down and placed the barrel of his gun against the wounded cop. He pulled his trigger a third time to finish him off. This time, the gun jammed. He pulled the trigger a fourth time. Again, nothing. The assassin, who had killed people before in more subtle ways by dispensing the drugs that was his trade, then fled the Gains home to the getaway car outside where his two accomplices awaited. "Did you kill him?" they asked.

     The shooting of Paul Gains enraged normally complacent citizens in Youngstown and they demanded that the Federal government take action. They got it. The FBI and the U. S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland began a dogged and determined investigation of the Mafia in Ohio. It soon became apparent, if it was not already, that Lenny Strollo and all of his Mafia associates had one thing in common; an association with James Traficant, the popular U. S. Congressman.

     Also running an investigation during this time that would lead back to Murdertown, USA was a Police Officer named Rick Porrello. Officer Porrello’s inquiry was not an official investigation of his department, but as a writer for a book he was putting together entitled: ‘To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia.’ Porrello had determined that the 1977 murder of Irish Mobster Danny Greene was one of the pivotal turning points in the history of the American Mafia, an event that had repercussions nationwide to this very day.

     The beginnings of the war between Danny Greene and the Mafia can be traced to the 1976 death of John Scalish, the Godfather of the Cleveland Mafia Family. The Godfather’s heir apparent was assumed by most to be "Big Ange" Lonardo, who assisted Scalish during his 32 year reign. However, Mafia Associate Milton "Deer Hunter" Rockman, who was with Scalish at his demise, astounded everyone with his claim that it was Scalish' dying wish that "Jack White" Licavoli succeed as Godfather. Licavoli, a 72-year-old bachelor in charge of the Youngstown gambling rackets reluctantly agreed to assume the position. "Jack White" named his cousin "Lips" Moceri, who was head of the Akron rackets, as Underboss.

     Licavoli was perceived by many to be a bumbling idiot, which prompted a move by rival Mobsters to attempt to take over the lucrative Ohio rackets. This plot was led by John Nardi, a high-ranking member of the corrupt Teamster's Union, and his partner Danny Greene, an Irish Mob figure in Cleveland who was also a corrupt Union official. Greene accepted a contract on the life of "Lips" Moceri, who then disappeared, his bloodstained car found abandoned in Akron. His body has never been found.

     Nardi and Greene did not live long to profit from their scheme: Nardi was soon blown to pieces by a car bomb in the parking lot outside his Teamster's Union office. On October 6, 1977, Danny Greene opened the door of his car parked outside his Dentist’s office in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst. Next to Greene’s car was a car rigged with a remote-control bomb. In the distance, Youngstown Mafia figure Ronnie "The Crab" Carabbia waited for the right moment to push the button of his remote-control device that would detonate the bomb-car. Carabbia pushed the button and the explosion ripped Danny Greene’s body into pieces.

     Circumstances had conspired against Ronnie the Crab; driving by as he and his accomplice fled was a young woman who happened to be an artist, and her father just happened to be a police officer. The woman’s sketch of the two men led to their identification and arrest.

     Once Ronnie the Crab was convicted and sent to prison for his role in Danny Greene’s murder, responsibility for taking care of Ronnie’s family and running the gambling rackets fell upon his brother, Charlie "The Crab" Carabbia. In those days, the Mafia made most of it’s money not from drug trafficking, as is the case today, but from gambling rackets, which took bets from citizens in the community on sporting events, most notably collegiate and professional football games. A common Mafia tactic in those days, as well as today, involved the bribing of College athletes in ‘point-shaving’ schemes, in which an athlete, typically a quarterback on a football team or point leader on a basketball team, would take measures to keep his team’s victory below the ‘point-spread’ established by professional gamblers. If a Mafia organization could thus influence the score outcome of a game, they stood to reap huge profits by betting for the ‘underdog’ in those sporting events. Such were the scams being operated by the two Mafia Families that controlled Youngstown; Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

     In 1980 James Traficant, who had enjoyed popularity as the quarterback of the University of Pittsburgh football team, announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Youngstown. Both the Pittsburgh Mafia Family and the rival Cleveland Mafia Family recognized that the next Sheriff had to be ‘bought’ by them to protect their gambling interests, so the Pittsburgh Mafia Family forwarded a $65,000 bribe to Traficant through their Associates Charles O’Nesti and Lenny Strollo. The Cleveland Mafia Family contributed more to Traficant, $98,000, forwarded to the former athlete through Charlie "The Crab."

     Carabbia believed Traficant was already in the pocket of the Pittsburgh Family so as an ‘insurance policy’ Charlie secretly tape-recorded Traficant’s conversations with him in which the Sheriff-elect bragged about accepting the Mafia bribes. On one tape, Carabbia stuns Traficant by revealing that he is blackmailing Traficant’s friend Ed Flask, the son of a former Youngstown Mayor, with "compromising photographs that would ensure his silence!" The tape shows that Traficant is deeply troubled by Carabbia’s blackmail revelation, and just days later Associates of the Pittsburgh Mafia Family abducted Carabbia and murdered him. The Pittsburgh Mafia Family then took extraordinary measures to conceal the identity of one of their accomplices in Charlie the Crab's murder, that being the person who disposed of Charlie’s car.

     The FBI eventually recovered copies of the Carabbia tapes and Sheriff Traficant was indicted in 1982 for accepting bribes from the Mafia. However, during his Federal trial, Traficant acted as his own attorney, telling the jury that he only accepted the money so he would know whom to arrest for corruption once he was elected Sheriff. After four days of deliberations, an exhausted jury acquitted Traficant on all charges. Traficant then turned the notoriety of his case to his advantage, running for Congress in 1984 and defeating the incumbent from Youngstown.

TORRICELLI’S ROAD TO CONGRESS

     Robert Torricelli was born in New Jersey in 1951. His father, Salvatore, was a lawyer from Corleone, Sicily. Torricelli followed in his family traditions, obtaining a law degree from Rutgers in 1977 and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard in 1980. In 1982 Torricelli was elected to Congress and has frequently been in the news, not as a result of his legislative agenda, but because of his personal life, which has included involvement with a variety of high-profile women such as activist Bianca Jagger.

     Torricelli has also received notoriety because of his championing of conspiracy theories about the Central Intelligence Agency; in 1995 Torricelli claimed the CIA was involved in a conspiracy to cover-up the actions of an alleged asset in Guatemala accused of complicity in two murders; in 1996 Torricelli claimed the CIA was conspiring against him by offering assistance to his Republican opponent in their U. S. Senate race. Torricelli’s leaking to the Media the information regarding the Guatemala affair caused a storm of protest from his fellow members of Congress as well as members of the Media. Still, Torricelli prevailed and the Clinton Administration put into place the ‘Torricelli Principle,’ new guidelines that severely curtailed the CIA’s ability to recruit agents and compile crucial information about America’s enemies.

     Congressman Torricelli had by this time already established a record of questionable ethical practices. In 1990 the Public Interest watchdog group Common Cause released a report on ‘Torricelli PAC,’ a Political Action Committee set up by Torricelli in New Jersey. Federal law makes it illegal for a member of Congress to accept a gift worth more than $100. Members must also submit under Penalty of Perjury personal financial disclosure statements. Federal election laws also limits contributions by individuals to $1,000 to the campaign of a Congressman and those individuals must be U. S. citizens. However, a candidate can set up a State PAC, whose disclosure requirements are not required by Federal law. A citizen can make unlimited contributions to a State PAC and there are few restrictions as to how that politician can spend those funds.

     The Common Cause report detailed how Torricelli spent $147,000 of ‘Torricelli PAC’ funds during 1987-1990 on such items as speeding tickets of his Aides, dues for Torricelli’s private Club, The Harvard Club, meals in fancy restaurants, overseas trips, gifts for friends from upscale Department Stores, and over $1,300 in florists bills. The contributor listed who gave the most money to ‘Torricelli PAC’ was a businessman with a controversial background, Grover Connell, who gave $35,000.

     Grover Connell is a multi-millionaire with business interests in agricultural commodities and real estate who has donated millions of dollars to politicians during the last four decades. In 1978 Connell was indicted by the Feds for his role in the infamous "Koreagate" scandal in which several members of Congress were caught accepting bribes from Korean officials. Charges against Connell were eventually dropped. Seven years later Connell and his partner Joseph Alioto were sued over their sale to Korea of tons of rice at below-market value, an action that devastated many American rice farmers. Alioto, the son of a fish merchant from Sicily, was a lawyer whose political career was eclipsed by published reports detailing his familial ties to the Mafia, which included John Alioto, who served for many years as Godfather of the Milwaukee Mafia Family. Alioto’s career was also mired by indictments on kickback charges, Conflict of Interest charges, admissions by Alioto that he stole $150,000 from a client, and Alioto’s confession that he paid no income taxes during the years he served as Mayor of San Francisco. As would be the case of another Torricelli contributor, David Chang, Torricelli invited Grover Connell to accompany him on trips to countries where both businessmen had financial interests, including Communist North Korea.

     A loan to Torricelli by Connell of $100,000 in 1992 would lead to the first of many investigations of Torricelli, according to a report by John Solomon of the Associated Press. Torricelli used the money to invest in a new financial institution owned by friends, First Savings Bank. The loan was unsecured, meaning Torricelli would not have to pay it back if he defaulted. This deal between friends gave the Congressman a quick profit of $144,000.

     For advice on the deal, Torricelli turned to criminal lawyer Abbe Lowell, who found no ethical or legal violations. Lowell has made a career representing politicians accused of wrongdoing, including Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski, Jim Wright, and Gary Condit.

     Convinced that Torricelli had broken Federal laws in the Connell/First Bank deal, FBI agents in New Jersey began an investigation, eventually questioning Torricelli Under Oath in 1995. However, officials in the U. S. Attorney’s office in Newark turned down several FBI subpoena requests for documents, which the agents perceived to be stonewalling by that office to the benefit of Torricelli. The U. S. Attorney in Newark, Faith Hochberg would later recuse herself from the investigation once she was nominated as a Federal Judge, a position Torricelli lobbied for her to receive, and the case was assigned to her Deputy Robert Cleary. Torricelli later used his political influence to lobby for the promotion of Cleary as U. S. Attorney. Frustrated FBI agents then took the unusual step of turning over evidence from their stymied probe to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducts investigations into the nominations of Judges and U. S. Attorneys.

     In 1995 Torricelli began his campaign for a seat in the U. S. Senate, waging a bitter and controversial contest against his opponent while utilizing a variety of fundraisers of various backgrounds to assemble his war chest. One fundraiser for the Torricelli Senate campaign was a $2,000 a plate event held at the home of convicted felon Francis Walsh, owner of Walsh Trucking Company. In 1988 Walsh was named in a landmark prosecution of the Teamsters Union and the Genovese Mafia Family. The indictments listed a veritable "Who’s Who" of mobsters, including Genovese Family Godfather "Fat Tony" Salerno, capo "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, Vincent "Fish" Cafaro, James "The Little Guy" Ida, and Teamsters officials Tony Provenzano and Stephen Andretta.

     Stephen Andretta and Tony Provenzano have been identified in FBI documents as among those responsible for the abduction and murder of former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa. Andretta was later convicted of loan sharking and racketeering and Provenzano was convicted of racketeering and murder. "Fat Tony" Salerno was among those convicted in the famous "Commission" trial prosecuted by Rudolph Giuliani. "Matty the Horse" Ianniello was sent to prison for income tax evasion. Vincent "Fish" Cafaro turned ‘rat’ and testified against several Mafia figures, including Gambino Family Godfather John Gotti and Genovese Family Godfather Vincent "The Chin" Gigante. James Ida is now serving a Life sentence for racketeering and murder. Francis Walsh pleaded guilty to charges he bribed Teamsters officials and served time in prison. Congressman Torricelli, when questioned by U. S. News & World Report about his association with the Walsh family, shrugged off criticism. "Walsh did something wrong, and he paid a price," the Congressman minimized.

     Federal Election Commission records show that in addition to the fund raiser for Torricelli, Francis Walsh donated $1,000 to Torricelli’s 1996 Senate campaign and members of the Walsh family have continued since that time to make cash contributions to Torricelli’s campaigns.

     In 1996 Torricelli was caught on an FBI wiretap soliciting contributions over a telephone at a Florida pizza parlor under surveillance for suspected Mafia ties, the Associated Press’ John Solomon would later report. Among those captured speaking with Torricelli were Francis and Sam Roti, the nephews of Fred Roti, a Chicago politician convicted in 1993 of racketeering, bribery, and extortion with members of the Chicago Mafia Family and the Laborers Union. On the FBI tapes Torricelli asks for $1,000 contributions from the Rotis and their associates and the Rotis then suggest that their native Chicago would be a good place for Torricelli to raise funds, even though Chicago is over 500 miles away from the constituents Torricelli would represent in New Jersey.

     Nicolas Castronuovo, the owner of the pizza parlor and his grandson Nicholas Melone later pleaded guilty to evading the government of $100,000 in taxes, according to a Miami Herald-Tribune report. Sam Roti was indicted in 1993 on Federal tax charges, which were later dropped, according to an ABC News report. Fred Roti, along with Chicago Mafia figures Tony Accardo and Joey Aiuppa and Laborers Union Vice-President John Serpico were named in a 1999 Federal civil racketeering lawsuit filed to end Mafia dominance of the International Laborer’s Union. Serpico was convicted in July 2001 on Federal fraud charges involving misuse of the Union’s Pension funds. The Laborer’s Union contributed $7,000 to the 1996 Torricelli Senate campaign, according to Federal Election Commission documents.

TRAFICANT’S EARLY YEARS IN CONGRESS

     James Traficant’s early years in Congress were largely unremarkable, but for one exception; he hired on his Congressional staff Charles O’Nesti, who was involved in the 1980 bribery of Traficant. In 1987 Congressman Traficant faced a civil trial for back taxes on the bribe money he did not declare on his income tax return. Traficant claimed that the money was campaign contributions, which are non-taxable, although he failed to report the money on campaign finance reports. Traficant refused to testify about his statements on the Carabbia tapes, perhaps fearing a Perjury trap should the government ever ‘flip’ as Prosecution Witnesses some of the Mafia associates he accepted bribe money from. Judge B. John Williams Jr. concluded that Traficant’s refusal to testify confirmed the damning evidence on the tapes and convicted Traficant of all charges. Because Traficant’s crimes were committed before being elected to Congress, the House Ethics Committee did not have jurisdiction to bring proceedings against him.

     In 1989 Congressman Traficant began his first in a series of unsubstantiated allegations regarding the Central Intelligence Agency, an act that Congressman Torricelli would soon emulate. Traficant held a press conference at which he claimed that the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 was the result of a joint Syrian/CIA operation gone awry. ABC News London correspondent Pierre Salinger then picked up the story, utilizing Traficant, government informant Lester Coleman, and private investigator Juval Aviv as his sources. Coleman later pleaded guilty to Perjury charges and admitted his Pan Am/CIA story was a hoax. Juval Aviv was placed on trial in 1996 in Manhattan on Federal fraud charges unrelated to the Pan Am case. He was acquitted.

     Upon Aviv's indictment Congressman Traficant found a replacement in Boris de Korczak as his lead researcher in his quest to prove his Pan Am 103 theory. Boris is best known for the lawsuit he filed in 1996 against the CIA in which he claimed he had been recruited by the CIA as a double agent against the KGB, that his ‘cover’ had been blown by a drunken U. S. official which resulted in a shoot-out with the KGB during a car chase through the streets of Copenhagen, and that his CIA case Officer extorted from him a bribe of Russian Medieval icons worth $300,000 in exchange for the promise of help in obtaining the pension he claimed was owed him. Boris claims he turned over the bribe, only to be shot in the kidney 4 months later by an unknown assailant armed with a pellet gun. The CIA denied Boris' claims he was owed monetary compensation and also denied any of its employees shot Boris with a pellet gun.

     Despite the efforts of Traficant and his associates to prove their CIA conspiracy theory, a spy for Libyan dictator Muamar Qadafy, Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi, was convicted in a Scottish Court as the terrorist who planted the bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103. Testifying on behalf of the Libyan spy was Pierre Salinger, who also claims that the United States Navy accidentally shot down TWA Flight 800 in 1996 and that the scores of U. S. Sailors who are witness to this event are all keeping quiet as part of a vast conspiracy and cover-up.

     Undaunted by their lack of success regarding the Pan Am 103 case, Traficant and his associates used his Congressional office to launch investigations into a variety of conspiracy theories that dealt with murder, police officers, and alleged serial killers. One such was the case of a Police Officer in Georgia, Mike Chapel, who had been convicted of the murder of a local woman. Traficant, Boris, and another private investigator claimed the cop in question had been set up by a vast drug trafficking conspiracy. Another conspiracy theory proposed by associates of Traficant claimed that a scion of a prominent Philadelphia family, John Lambert, was a serial killer on the loose, protected by a vast conspiracy of members of law enforcement and Philadelphia politicians. One veteran cop at the center of the alleged conspiracy, Tom Augustine, was investigated for many months by both State and Federal authorities before he was eventually cleared of being involved in the alleged cover-up on behalf of the alleged serial killer. John Lambert then killed himself with an overdose of drugs. DNA testing after his death proved conclusively that he was not involved in any of the unsolved murders he was falsely accused of. In April 2001, Fred Ambrose, an attorney involved in the false accusations against Lambert, suddenly vanished, presumably on his own accord.

     Congressman Traficant and his investigators then turned their attention to a police officer in Rhode Island, Jeffrey Hornoff, who had been convicted of murder. Traficant’s investigators determined that the cop was innocent and that the ‘real’ perpetrator of the murder in question was a serial killer. The serial killer theory was presented in a Court proceeding but the Judge dismissed the theory as lacking in any evidence to support it. It would later be revealed that Hornoff was in fact innocent, but the ‘real’ killer turned out not to be the serial killer named by Traficant’s investigators but rather a friend of the murder victim.

     One of Congressman Traficant’s most publicized acts has been his championing of John Demjanjuk, the retired auto worker whom the Justice Department deported to Israel to face charges he was "Ivan the Terrible," the notorious Nazi concentration camp murderer. Traficant insisted that Demjanjuk’s was innocent. Although Demjanjuk was found guilty, the Israeli Supreme Court later overturned his conviction and Traficant personally flew to Israel to escort the accused Nazi mass murderer back to the United States.

     In November 2000 an employee of Traficant’s, Clarence Broad, pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hitman to murder an alleged girlfriend of Traficant’s who had been subpoenaed to testify before a Federal Grand Jury investigating the Congressman. Convinced that Traficant was behind the murder plot, FBI agents played for the woman secretly recorded tapes of Broad and the man he tried to hire to murder her. The woman was then taken into protective custody for several months while the FBI pursued its investigation. Traficant was never charged in the murder solicitation plot and the woman in question later stated publicly that she did not believe Traficant was involved. The woman in question also denied having an affair with the Congressman, but did admit to once having slashed his tires with a knife in a fit of passion.

THE GODFATHER OF BAGHDAD

     On June 29, 1993, Senator John McCain entered into the Congressional Record a public challenge to the FBI and the Justice Department to share information on the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin e-Khalk, (MEK), an Islamic terrorist organization involved in a clandestine effort to influence American public policy by directing contributions to the campaigns of selected members of Congress. In response to Senator McCain’s request, the FBI, State Department, and other law enforcement agencies released information about the MEK, which was founded in the 1970s by young Iranian Communists with the aim of overthrowing the Shah of Iran. FBI documents show that MEK members murdered several U. S. military members and civilians in this quest and that MEK members were among those in 1979 who invaded the U. S. Embassy in Tehran, kidnapping 52 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and installed a puppet Communist regime, the new Iranian government banned the Communist MEK and they fled to neighboring Iraq, where they received the support of Dictator Saddam Hussein. MEK terrorists fought alongside the military of Iraq during the 8-year war between Iraq and Iran and continued their association with Hussein during the Gulf War against the United States and it’s allies.

     As a result of the warnings by the U. S. government requested by McCain, by 1997 only four Congressmen were still accepting substantial contributions from associates of the MEK, according to an issue of The Iran Report, a publication of the Middle East Data Project. That report named the four as being Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, Gary Ackerman of New York, Dan Burton of Indiana, and James Traficant of Ohio.

     Why were Traficant and Torricelli targeted by terrorists supported by Saddam Hussein? The answer may lie in information recently made public about Hussein as America prepares to go to war a second time with the Iraqi Dictator. Hussein is known to have a keen interest in the American Mafia and his favorite movie is ‘The Godfather.’ In seeking out members of the U. S. Congress to further the cause of the MEK, the government of Saddam Hussein may have come to the conclusion that if members of Congress such as Traficant and Torricelli would accept campaign contributions from members of the American Mafia, as clearly has been the case, then these two politicians would likely accept money from anybody, even Islamic terrorists. Traficant and Torricelli did in fact for many years aggressively lobby in Washington on behalf of this organization that is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

     In 1996 Congress passed new legislation that made it illegal to raise funds within the United States for criminal syndicates determined by the State Department to be terrorist organizations. In February 2001 the FBI utilized this new law by arresting 7 foreigners at the Los Angeles International Airport for illegally raising funds for the MEK. The 7 solicited money from travelers after showing them photographs of starving children, with the promise that their money would go to humanitarian relief efforts. Instead, according to the FBI, the money was used to buy rocket-propelled grenades and other explosives, which have been used by the MEK in their attacks on innocent civilians.

     Beginning in 1999, AmericanMafia.com reported that MEK associates throughout the country had made substantial contributions to the campaigns of Robert Torricelli and James Traficant. Only this year did the ‘mainstream Media’ report on this, when Senator Torricelli’s Republican challenger raised the issue during a campaign debate. Senator Torricelli then admitted that it was a mistake on his part to accept money from associates of the Mujahedin e-Khalk.

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF TRAFICANT AND TORRICELLI

     Two events of 1996 would lead to the decline and fall of James Traficant and Robert Torricelli. In Traficant’s case, it was the Christmas Eve Mafia hit on "Untouchable" police officer Paul Gains, which led to a crackdown on the Mafia in Ohio. In Torricelli’s case it was a series of fund raising improprieties regarding his successful bid for the United States Senate.

     After Paul Gains was shot by the Mafia, the U. S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland and the local office of the FBI sprang into action. One significant event was the ‘flipping’ of Traficant’s employee Charles O’Nesti, who agreed to testify as to crimes committed by both Traficant and Mafia figure Lenny Strollo. O’Nesti’s co-operation with the Feds then prompted Strollo to ‘flip’ as well. Strollo confessed all; his role in the plot to murder Paul Gains, his role in the unsolved murder of Charlie "The Crab" Carabbia, his life of crime bribing public officials, including Traficant, and other crimes. The result of the efforts by the Feds in Cleveland has been the most successful string of Federal corruption prosecutions in United States history. Over 70 people – Judges, members of law enforcement, businessmen, and politicians have been convicted by the Feds in their crackdown on corruption in Murdertown, USA. Inevitably, the Feds closed in on the last ‘big fish,’ Congressman James Traficant.

     Congressman Traficant responded to these investigations in typical fashion, attempting to change the focus of public opinion by throwing up various ‘smokescreens.’ One of the more entertaining of these gestures was his appearance on the Fox News Channel Talk Show Hannity & Colmes in August of 2000, during which Traficant put forth his latest conspiracy theory. Traficant claimed the Mafia was blackmailing Attorney General Janet Reno through possession of a secretly-recorded videotape in which Reno is seen having sex with a Mobbed-up call girl and that the Mafia used this tape 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.

     Another incident regarding Traficant and the Media was more sinister. In 2001, ROLL CALL Magazine reported that the single largest contributor to Traficant’s re-election campaign had purchased a radio station that featured the Louie B. Free talk show. After AmericanMafia.com debuted in 1998 with the lead story about Traficant’s ties to the Mafia, AmericanMafia.com founder Rick Porrello and this reporter became frequent guests on the Free Show to discuss organized crime in America. After Traficant’s single largest campaign contributor bought the radio station upon which Free appeared, Louie B. Free was fired. Free then took his audience, which was growing nationwide due to its Internet broadcast, to other radio stations, where he would again be fired after speaking out against the popular Congressman.

     Eventually, it was Congressman Traficant who lost his job; after his conviction earlier this year on 10 new Federal Counts of bribery, income tax evasion, and racketeering, the Congressman was Expelled from the House of Representatives by a vote of 420 to 1. The lone member of Congress who voted for Traficant was Gary Condit, who, like Traficant, is considered by many to be a murder suspect. In July Congressman Traficant was taken into custody after being sentenced to 8 years in prison. Prior to his sentencing, Traficant had managed to get his name placed on the ballot as an Independent in the newly drawn Congressional District just North of Youngstown. Louie B. Free continues his popular radio talk show today on a station in suburban Cleveland.

     The legal woes of Senator Torricelli have been more complicated than Traficant’s, with a far different resolution. At issue are the sources of money that flowed into Torricelli’s 1996 Senate campaign. The Mafia-tainted gambling industry is one that has contributed extensively to Torricelli, according to Federal Election Commission documents. In 1996 Torricelli received $15,000 from Mirage Resorts, $11,000 from Ballys, $3,500 from Circus Circus, $3,500 from the Boyd Gaming Corporation, $3,500 from Showboat Casino, $1,000 from Trump Taj Mahal, $9,800 from MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, $5,000 from Harrahs', and $4,000 from the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.

     The current Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, figures in a Newark Star-Ledger report regarding a financial transaction in 1998 which gave Senator Torricelli a paper profit of $220,000 on a investment of only $5,000, a return of 4,400%. Senator Torricelli was one of only 15 people who made an initial investment in the Internet Telecommunications firm e.Volve Technology Group, whose stock price skyrocketed once acquired by eVentures Group, an Internet holding company. Among the main figures in eVentures Group are convicted felon Kerry Rogers and Mayor Goodman.

     Kerry Rogers was convicted in 1985 for his participation in a $20 million bank fraud case in New Jersey. Rogers was prosecuted in 1995 by Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III for his promotion of an Internet gambling website and Rogers was indicted by the Feds in 1998 for his role in promoting the Internet gambling website 'Winner's Way,' operated out of the Dominican Republic. Before being elected as Mayor of Las Vegas, criminal attorney Oscar Goodman served for over 30 years as the "mouthpiece of the Mob," representing Mafia figures including Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Meyer Lansky, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, and Philadelphia Underboss Phil Leonetti. Goodman has flaunted his Mafia associations and portrayed himself in the Mafia epic movie "CASINO."

     The Star-Ledger also reported Torricelli made a $50,000 profit in an investment in the Internet Dietary Supplement Company Compare Generiks. This stock deal was brought to him through the Blind Trust he set up in 1994 in response to the public criticism of his Grover Connell/First Savings Bank deal. Torricelli set up the Trust vowing to his constituents he would not again participate in his own investments. Torricelli did in fact violate that promise in 1998 with the Compare Generiks deal, but only publicly admitted it in 2000 when the Media disclosed the transactions. The Compare Generiks stock was later found to have been illegally manipulated by securities con artist Lawrence Penna, aka Lawrence Joseph Pennacchio, an associate of Torricelli's who was convicted by the Feds for his role in a $200 million stock rip-off of investors. Penna would also plead guilty to illegally laundering $20,000 into Torricelli's 1996 campaign.

     Common Cause has also reported Torricelli's actions that have benefited the American drug manufacturers lobby. As detailed in their June 2001 report, the Schlering-Plough Corporation made a $50,000 contribution in May 1999 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, then headed by Senator Torricelli. The report noted that the very next day, Torricelli introduced legislation favorable to the manufacturers of 7 drugs, including the popular anti-allergy drug Claritin. A Schlering-Plough Executive would later contribute $5,000 to Torricelli's Legal Defense Fund.

     Torricelli's acceptance of money from members of the Islamic community has raised the interest of members of law enforcement during the past several years, according to numerous published reports. In 2001 the Bergen Record reported that Federal authorities had subpoenaed records from the Bergen County Democratic Organization in regards to a 1996 fundraiser for Torricelli held at the Al-Ghazaly Islamic School in Jersey City. As is common in regards to Torricelli fundraisers, many contributors were not residents of the State Torricelli represents, New Jersey. Three New York residents, Arshad, Mahzar, and Mohammed, are among those who turned over checks they were told to leave blank except for their signatures, believing the money was going to Torricelli's campaign. Instead, the money went into the county party's account at Bridge View Bank.

     Senator Torricelli's eagerness to accept money from foreign-born businessmen with questionable backgrounds became one of the focuses of the Campaign Financing Task Force put together in 1997 by U. S. Attorney General Janet Reno. 8 associates of Torricelli’s were eventually indicted for making illegal contributions to Torricelli’s 1996 Senate campaign. Seven have been convicted, while an eighth remains a Fugitive from Justice.

     In September 1998 the Task Force announced the indictment of an international businessman from the Philippines, Mark Jimenez, also known as "Mario Crespo," on charges that Jimenez made multiple illegal contributions to political campaigns in 1996, including Torricelli's. At the time Jimenez was the President of an international computer Services Company operating out of Miami named Future Tech International. Three months later Future Tech and its Chief Financial Officer, Juan C. Ortiz accepted a plea bargain by which the company pleaded guilty to income tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions. Future Tech was fined $1 million and paid another $200,000 to the Federal Election Commission.

     In April 1999 the Task Force added 47 additional counts against Jimenez, alleging conspiracy, mail fraud, tax evasion, false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and illegal contributions to several Democratic campaigns. By that time Jimenez had fled to his native Philippines, where, with the help of President Joseph Estrada, he was elected to that country's House of Representatives. However, Estrada was later Impeached and removed from office on corruption charges. Meanwhile, the United States government continued to pressure the Philippine government to extradite Jimenez back to the U. S. to stand trial. Jimenez responded by hiring as his attorney Kenneth Starr, the Tobacco industry lawyer and former Special Prosecutor who will be forever linked in U. S. history with the Monica Lewinsky debacle.

     In May 1999 the Campaign Financing Task Force secured guilty pleas from lawyer Berek Don, a top Republican leader in New Jersey political circles whom nevertheless illegally funneled money into the 1996 Torricelli campaign. Don admitted he laundered through the campaign $11,000 given to him by his associate David Chang. Don also pleaded guilty to Federal charges of defrauding two real estate partners of over $100,000. In December the Task Force announced that Don's partner in his law firm, Carmine Alampi, who was given a position on Torricelli's Senate campaign committee, had pleaded guilty to his role in making illegal contributions.

     In June 2000 the Task Force secured the convictions of South Korean national Cha-Kuek Koo, who pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions in the names of other people to the 1996 Torricelli campaign. Koo, who as President of LG Group, a Korean-based telecommunications and finance conglomerate, funneled $20,000 in illegal contributions to the campaign by convincing his employees to make these donations. These funds were then reimbursed by David Chang, a businessman born in Communist China who has a history of financial dealings with the Communist North Korean regime. The Task Force also announced that Audrey Yu, a co-defendant of David Chang, had pleaded guilty to lying to a Grand Jury about her knowledge of destruction of documents relating to charter flights arranged for Torricelli's campaign trips by Chang.

     In June 2000 the Bergen Record reported that David Chang had pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired with others to make illegal donations of over $50,000 to the 1996 Torricelli campaign, as well as Obstruction of Justice charges and Solicitation of Perjury before a Grand Jury. Chang also admitted falsifying records in regards to 19 chartered flights of airplanes he arranged for Torricelli during his travels seeking election to the United States Senate. Criminal lawyer Abbe Lowell expressed his apparent stunned response on behalf of his client Torricelli: "Both the Senator and the campaign are disappointed that David Chang may have been involved in illegal conduct!" As a member of Congress, Torricelli should not have been surprised as to Chang's criminality, as it was a matter of public record that Congressman Jay Kim, an activist in California's Korean community, pleaded guilty in 1997 to receiving $12,000 in illegal contributions from Chang. As a consequence, Kim was defeated in his bid for re-election to Congress.

     Congressman Kim's guilty plea came 2 years before a notorious trip to South Korea in which Senator Torricelli invited David Chang to accompany him. Torricelli had arranged meetings between himself and key government officials, who believed Torricelli's agenda was the discussion of governmental affairs. However, once the meetings began, Torricelli introduced Chang, who was pushing a plan to buy a bankrupt South Korean insurance company. The governmental watchdog evote.com has reported that Korean government officials were furious over Torricelli's 'bait and switch' tactics and that the U. S. Ambassador had to issue an embarrassing apology to the South Korean Finance Minister.

     After Chang pleaded guilty to illegally laundering money through the Torricelli campaign, the foreign money manipulator made a series of startling allegations regarding Torricelli, including his claim that Torricelli advised him to flee America to escape prosecution once the Federal investigations had started. In addition to the thousands of dollars of contributions, the New York Times has reported that Chang told investigators he gave Torricelli an $8,000 Rolex watch, 10 Italian made suits worth thousands of dollars, and other gifts of cash and goods.

     Also, Chang has claimed that he was visited by several men unknown to him on the weekend he was first incarcerated in December, 1999, and that these men made overt threats that he was to keep quiet as to his business dealings with Senator Torricelli. Federal authorities have extensively investigated these claims, which are eerily identical to a plot line in a Mario Puzo Mafia novel. Martin Budnick, a senior prison official at the Hudson County Correctional Center where Chang was taken after his arrest, has told authorities that he visited the Center at the request of an aide to his friend Robert Janiszewski, a Hudson County executive who is a close associate of Torricelli. Budnick, who normally works Monday through Friday at the Center claims that his weekend visit was to procure an extra blanket and food for Chang, who had complained of cold and hunger. The identities of two other men who visited Chang in jail have not been made public. A Federal Grand Jury investigation of these allegations did not result in any indictments.

     David Chang has also made yet another stunning claim which is outlined in documents filed at his sentencing hearing. Chang alleges that in January, 2001, Torricelli and another man followed Chang into a 7-11 convenience store in Ft. Lee, New Jersey in an apparent attempt to threaten Chang into not co-operating with the Federal investigation of Torricelli’s fund raising ventures. Chang averted the confrontation by slipping out the back door of the store. The next day agents of the FBI confiscated the store’s surveillance videotape which reportedly shows Chang followed into the store by Torricelli and his associate. To date, the mystery man who accompanied Torricelli has only been described in Media reports as a contractor in the waste disposal industry.

     In sentencing Chang to prison, Judge Alfred Wolin sealed a key document relating to the Torricelli investigation, citing Torricelli’s "privacy interests." Prosecutors also detailed in a document submitted to Judge Wolin a synopsis of their investigation as it pertained to the allegations made by Chang for the Judge to consider before handing down his sentence.

     Lawyers for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Record of Hackensack, and NBC affiliate Channel 4 of New York City, then went to Court seeking the release of information in the report. Lawyers for Torricelli opposed the release of the documents.

     The public statements by Torricelli and his associates regarding David Chang have ranged from Torricelli calling him "my friend" once Chang was indicted, to Torricelli's lawyers denouncing Chang as a "pathological liar," once Chang pleaded guilty, according to the New York Post, to Torricelli once again calling Chang his friend, from whom he accepted "no illegal gifts," according to The New Republic.

     Court documents relating to Chang's initial arrest noted that the foreign financier has used at least 2 passports, 3 birth dates, and has had two wives at the same time. However, a New York Post article has portrayed Chang as a hero, wearing a wire on behalf of the NYPD in an investigation into the 'White Tigers,' a Chinatown gang that in 1983 kidnapped, tortured, and raped 4 girls. The 4 were freed because of Chang's heroics and authorities stated the gang intended to murder the girls once they were through with them.

     A business associate of David Chang’s named Kenneth Quinones, a former State Department official who was an expert on Communist Korea, has also found himself in trouble with the law. In August 2001 Quinones pleaded guilty to conflict of interest charges relating to his efforts to facilitate business deals between Chang and the government of North Korea. Chang has claimed that he also gave to Quinones expensive gifts similar to those he gave to Torricelli.

     Another financier whom Torricelli gave a position on his 1996 Senate campaign finance committee is Philippe Hababou, who became an International Fugitive when he fled his native France in late 1995 where he was wanted on charges of defrauding investors in an international securities scam. Hababou was also involved with members of the French Mafia in a money laundering and stolen checks scam.

     Once on the lam in the United States, Hababou hooked up with another Fugitive from Justice, Mark A. Rousso, aka "Marc Amand," who was wanted in France on stock fraud charges. Hababou and Rousso quickly set up similar stock fraud scams in the U. S., raking in millions of dollars as the two hooked up with Congressman Torricelli. Soon, both were attending fundraisers where they had their photographs taken with President Clinton. Rousso pleaded guilty in 1999 to money laundering and securities fraud charges. In 1996 Hababou was convicted "in absentia" in France on the French Mafia stolen checks case. In December 1998 Hababou was arrested at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City where he and Rousso had laundered and gambled huge amounts of stolen money. French authorities secured Hababou's extradition after Hababou pleaded guilty in September, 2000 to laundering thousands of dollars into the Torricelli campaign, as well as laundering over $5 million he and Rousso made in their U. S. stock scam.

     Questions have also arisen regarding $35,000 in outstanding loans that Senator Torricelli did not list on his personal financial disclosure forms to the Senate Ethics Committee in 1998 and 1999, according to a report in the Bergen Record. The outstanding loan was the remnant of a $125,000 loan Torricelli took out in 1995 from investment broker Matthew Gohd, who also managed the Blind Trust of Torricelli's investments. Investigators have also examined transactions by which Gohd issued two checks for $15,000 to convicted felon Philippe Hababou on the very day after Torricelli took out a $50,000 installment of the loan from Gohd. The checks were used to buy 30,000 shares of Internet Channel, Inc., a new high-speed Internet access service provider. According to a report from evote.com, all of the initial investors in Internet Channel lost their money in this venture except for one; Robert Torricelli, who sold his shares to an undisclosed party for full value.

     In February 2001 two former employees of an oil company told the FBI that they were asked to make $1,000 contributions to the 1996 Torricelli campaign and were then reimbursed by the company's President, former Iranian Ambassador to the United States Hushang Ansary. Those donations were well orchestrated, as 13 of Ansary's employees made contributions totaling $50,000 to the Torricelli campaign on the very same day, June 3, 1996, according to a report in the Washington Post. Ansary has admitted asking his employees to make the contributions but has denied reimbursing said employees.

     The New York Times has reported that four members of Torricelli's Congressional staff, whose salaries were paid by the U. S. taxpayers, worked for several months almost exclusively raising funds for Torricelli's 1996 Senate campaign. The Times also reported that Torricelli and senior aides had been warned that this was a violation of Federal law and yet they took no action, according to a member of the finance committee who has been granted immunity from Prosecution. One employee, Roberta Stern, was paid $70,000 in taxpayer money, according to government documents.

     The Star-Ledger has reported that trucking company executive Joseph Supor has alleged that during the 1996 Senate campaign, aides of Torricelli coerced him into persuading 7 of his employees to write checks to the campaign in the amount of $1,000, which Supor says he reimbursed to said employees, unaware such activity was illegal. Supor also claims Torricelli himself made several unsolicited phone calls to him asking for money and that he personally delivered $18,000 to Torricelli at his home, but insists that he did not ask for any favors in return and that Torricelli offered him nothing in return for the many thousands of dollars in coerced contributions.

     In April 2001 agents of the U. S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan searched Senator Torricelli's home in New Jersey. Torricelli admitted in a television interview that his attorneys personally escorted the agents through his home to assure them that there were no documents or items in his residence of interest to their investigation.

     In response to the growing investigations of Torricelli campaign financiers, Torricelli had founded a separate Legal Defense Fund. One of the first controversial associates of Torricelli to donate money to this fund was Grover Connell, who gave Torricelli $10,000. According to FEC documents, waste management contractors Frank and Peter DiTommaso also contributed $10,000 to this fund. This gift is even more generous given the statement issued by a spokesperson for the Senator, who said Torricelli does not even know these two men. At the time of the donations, the DiTommaso brothers, owners of Interstate Industrial Corporation, were the subjects of a Federal, New York City, and New Jersey Casino Control Commission investigation into allegations of ties to the Mafia.

     The City investigation was prompted by a $30 million contract sought by the DiTommaso brothers' business to assist in the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, an illegal Mob-controlled landfill that was only closed after the election of former Mafia Prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani as Mayor of New York. The City as a result of their investigation canceled the $30 million contract.

     The Federal investigation of the DiTommaso brothers concerned their purchase of a Staten Island waste station controlled by Edward Garafola. who is married to the sister of former Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Garafola was indicted in March 2000 along with Lawrence Ray, an executive of the DiTommaso brothers' Interstate Industrial Corporation, and Daniel Persico, nephew of Colombo Family Godfather Carmine "The Snake" Persico, on Federal charges involving a $40 million stock 'pump and dump' scam. Interstate Industrial Corporation was also denied a contract by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 2000 to perform work on an Atlantic City gambling casino.

     Federal Election Commission records also show that Frank DiTommaso contributed $1,000 to the Torricelli campaign on March 26, 1999 and that DiTommaso Family members made several other $1,000 contributions that year. The DiTommaso brothers have denied they have ties to the Mafia and their integrity has been publicly vouched for by former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari.

     Another contributor to Torricelli's legal defense fund was former Congressman Frank Guarini, Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation. This organization made headlines in 1998 when it joined with the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) in calling for a demonstration outside the Manhattan offices of the producers of the hit HBO series The SOPRANOS, which both organizations claimed reinforced negative stereotypes about Italian-Americans. The demonstration was called off after reports in the Media revealed that NECO President William Fugazy was a convicted felon named in Court proceedings as a Mafia Associate. Fugazy was one of many convicted felons who received a Presidential Pardon from Bill Clinton during the final hours of his Administration.

     Among the Board of Directors of the National Italian American Foundation is John J. Cafaro, President of the Cafaro Company of Youngstown, Ohio. Last year Cafaro pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman James Traficant. Cafaro testified against Traficant earlier this year during his Federal bribery and racketeering trial. Before Traficant was sent to jail, he called as a witness before his House Ethics Committee trial former Cafaro employee Richard Detore, who is also under indictment on bribery charges regarding Traficant. Detore told the Ethics Committee that the Cafaro family had made illegal gifts to Senator Torricelli and one of the Senator’s girlfriends.

     In August 2001 the Washington Post reported that Torricelli had spent an incredible $1.5 million on lawyers defending him in the various investigations, despite the fact that the Senator had not yet been charged with a crime. Half of the $1.5 million was doled out by his re-election campaign fund, with the other half coming from his Legal Defense Fund.

     In the end, the money raised for Torricelli’s defense was not necessary, as the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which had taken over the investigation, announced no indictments would be forthcoming. Torricelli still had to face a hearing before the Senate Ethics Committee, which convened briefly last Summer. Despite the evidence of Torricelli’s involvement with a variety of criminals who illegally funneled money into his campaign funds, the Senate Ethics Committee focused on one lone person who made allegations against Torricelli, David Chang. Early on in the investigation the Committee made it known that they would not call Chang or anyone other than Torricelli as a Witness. Torricelli testified in secret before a closed session of the Committee.

     The Senate Ethics Committee then handed Torricelli a 3-page admonishment for his dealings with Chang, which critics claimed was nothing more than a ‘slap on the wrist.’ Apparently believing Torricelli had gotten off too easy, some members of the Media aggressively began reporting on the Senator’s ethical questions. Torricelli’s Republican challenger attacked Torricelli over his acceptance of money from Islamic terrorists and suggested that the ‘Torricelli Principle’ had severely damaged our national security. With such charges coming in the months after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Torricelli’s poll numbers plummeted.

     Then, in a stunning event that some observers likened to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, Torricelli announced that he was quitting his bid for re-election. Torricelli was replaced on the ballot by his archenemy, former Senator Frank Lautenberg.

EPILOGUE

     After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the bi-partisan House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security began a review of U. S. intelligence operations. The House Intelligence Committee has called upon the CIA to discard the ‘Torricelli Principle’ and return to the recruitment policies that existed prior to Torricelli’s 1995 revelations.

     Frank Lautenberg easily won his bid for a new term in the United States Senate. However, at age 78, there are many that wonder if Lautenberg can complete his 6 years in the Senate. Should he be unable to do so, the Governor of the State of New Jersey would choose the person to fill out the remainder of his term. Currently, the Governor of New Jersey is a Democrat who is a strong supporter of Robert Torricelli. Among those Democrats that could be chosen to fill out Lautenberg’s term in the United States Senate is former United States Senator Robert Torricelli!

     In regards to former Congressman Traficant, the last word offered here is given to one of his peers, Jeri Zimmerman, one of the jurors who convicted Traficant earlier this year. Says Zimmerman in regards to the thousands of fellow Ohio residents who voted for inmate Traficant in the 2002 Elections; "It continues to confound and amaze me that there are still "Traficant Supporters" out there! Even after the trial in Cleveland, Congress also finding him guilty and expelling him - there are still folks out there who want Traficant in office! As an Ohioan, of course I find these "Traficant Supporters" a source of embarrassment. I would invite any of these supporters of the former congressmen to read the trial transcripts and do some research. I think they would come to the same conclusion we as jurors did and the folks in the House of Representatives did." "I personally feel that Jim Traficant felt he was above the laws set forth to govern actions of our elected officials. I also find it equally disturbing that these "supporters" also seem to have the same "anti-government" sentiment. Since September 11, I feel this country, more than ever needs to unite."

     With Traficant in prison and Torricelli soon to be out of office, perhaps we Americans have heard the last from James Traficant and Robert Torricelli as public officials.

     Or have we?

*

James Ridgway de Szigethy can be reached at JAMESDE@prodigy.net.


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