TRAFICANT CASE Indictment brings out new charge

The revamped indictment includes a contractor who said he bribed the congressman with $2,400.
CLEVELAND -- A superseding indictment against U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. adds a new bribery charge and a co-defendant.
The 44-page indictment filed Friday in U.S. District Court replaces the original 41-page indictment handed up May 4 against the 17th District congressman.
Traficant, who is not a lawyer, is representing himself. The 60-year-old, nine-term congressman could not be reached to comment.
Bribery charges: Traficant's co-defendant is Richard E. Detore, 41, of Clifton, Va., former chief operating officer of U.S. Aerospace Group. Detore is charged with conspiracy to violate the federal bribery statute.
J.J. Cafaro, of the mall development family, was once affiliated with USAG and has pleaded guilty to bribing Traficant -- with nearly $40,000 that included cash and the purchase of the congressman's houseboat -- in return for Traficant's using his influence to promote USAG laser-guidance technology.
The government said that, from April 1998 through December 1999, USAG paid $3,219 for meals at the Taverna in Washington, D.C., for Traficant and Detore. Traficant, Cafaro, Albert Lange, USAG chief engineer, and Detore agreed to conceal Cafaro's purchase of the congressman's houseboat by making it appear as though Lange bought the boat, the government said, identifying Lange only by title in the indictment.
Caught on tape: One of Traficant's motions includes a 27-page transcript of an audiotaped conversation he had Aug. 1 with Detore. Throughout the taped conversation, Detore says that he did nothing wrong and complains about being threatened with an IRS audit and encouraged by a federal prosecutor and others to lie or be indicted as a co-conspirator.
Traficant has said Detore's experiences illustrate his contention that the "Gestapo government" did whatever it took to frame the congressman.
Detore could not be reached for comment.
His Washington, D.C., attorney, Plato Cacheris, also could not be reached. Cacheris once represented Monica Lewinsky.
U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells, who set Traficant's trial for Feb. 4, will likely set arraignment for Traficant and Detore with a magistrate.
If convicted, Detore faces five years in prison and $250,000 fine. Traficant, if convicted, faces 63 years in prison, $2.2 million in fines and a $100,000 forfeiture of property.
Racketeering added: Traficant's 10-count indictment remains unchanged with the exception that a new racketeering act has been added. His charges include racketeering, bribery, tax evasion, seeking and accepting illegal gratuities and obstructing justice.
The new racketeering charge states that in August 1998, Traficant sought and accepted things of value from James R. Sabatine in return for and because of official acts Traficant performed. The congressman is accused of intervening on Sabatine's behalf with officials of an interstate railroad company.
In August, Sabatine pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a two-count criminal information filed Aug. 2 that charged him with engaging in a pattern of racketeering between June 1993 and December 1999 and filing a false tax return for 1994, understating his income by $239,000.
Sabatine, 49, of Pebble Beach Court once owned Hardrives Paving and Construction Inc. of Mineral Ridge. He liquidated it earlier this year.
Sabatine said he bribed Traficant with $2,400.
Sabatine also pleaded guilty to mail fraud and two more acts of bribery -- including two payments totaling $20,000 in 1994 to former Mahoning County Engineer William Fergus to ensure that Hardrives maintained a "favorable position" for future contracts. The government also linked the bribes to a 1993 contract Hardrives had to repave Meridian Road.
Fergus, charged in March 1998 with taking kickbacks, pleaded guilty and received an 18-month sentence.
Sabatine joins Cafaro and A. David Sugar of Honey Creek Contracting in New Middletown as those who pleaded guilty in the case against Traficant and are expected to testify for the government.