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TRAFICANT CASE Motion fails to include 44 papers

By David Skolnick

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

The congressman has until Monday to file the proper paperwork.
CLEVELAND -- U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., who is serving as his own attorney in a federal racketeering case, is getting closer to complying with court orders, but he's not there yet.
Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, filed a motion by Monday's deadline asking the judge overseeing his case to forbid federal prosecutors from using 44 documents it obtained from third parties as evidence against him.
The problem, according to a court order filed Tuesday, is Traficant failed to include those 44 documents with his motion.
"At several places in the supplement, the defendant makes reference to the 'attached' documents, evidence, or exhibits. The clerk of court has advised, however, that no attachments were filed with the defendant's supplement," wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge William H. Baughman Jr.
The magistrate will consider Traficant's request to forbid the use of the documents and make a recommendation to U.S. Court Judge Lesley Brooks Wells, who is overseeing the congressman's case.
Deadline: The magistrate gave Traficant until Monday to file a copy of each of the 44 documents with the court and the U.S. attorney's office.
In his motion Monday, Traficant wrote that he objects to the use of the evidence based on congressional immunity found in the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The provision has helped protect members of Congress from being prosecuted or sued for what they do in their official capacities.
Traficant has had other problems with this request.
Motion rejected: Judge Wells rejected an Aug. 20 motion from Traficant seeking privilege under the clause because he did not give specifics as to why he was entitled to it. The judge wrote that if Traficant could not file the motion correctly, she would "seriously consider the appointment of stand-by counsel to ensure that defendant Traficant has available to him the professional assistance needed to comply with this order."
Traficant opposes any requirement for him to use the services of an attorney.
Traficant was indicted in May on 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery and tax evasion. His trial is set for Feb. 4.