- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - The family of former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. held a private funeral Monday for the 17-year northeast Ohio congressman, who died over the weekend, a spokeswoman said.

Traficant died at a hospice near Youngstown on Saturday after he was moved there from a hospital on Friday, family spokeswoman Heidi Hanni said. He was 73.

He was found unconscious on Sept. 23 after a vintage tractor flipped over on him as he tried to park it inside a barn on the family farm near Youngstown. A cause of death has not been released.

Traficant spent seven years in prison after being convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks. He was only the second person to be expelled from Congress since the Civil War.

The Democrat’s expulsion in 2002 came three months after a federal jury in Cleveland convicted him. Prosecutors said he used his office to extract bribes from businesspeople and coerced staffers to work on his farm and his house boat on the Potomac River in Washington. He also was charged with witness tampering, destroying evidence and filing false tax returns.

Traficant drew plenty of attention to himself during his 17 years in Congress. He sported a messy mop of hair - revealed to be a wig when he went to prison - cowboy boots, denim or polyester suits, and a bombastic speaking style.

His rants on the House floor often ended with the signoff “Beam me up,” which Traficant borrowed from “Star Trek” to show his disgust or bemusement at whatever he found particularly outrageous.

He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1984 and was easily re-elected eight times.


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