Former Ohio Rep. James Traficant dies
(CNN) — Former Ohio Rep. James Traficant Jr., who was critically injured Tuesday after a tractor accident on his farm in Greenford Ohio, has died. Traficant was 73.
Family attorney and spokeswoman Heidi Hanni told CNN that Traficant passed away Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Traficant was riding a small 1943 tractor when he lost control, causing the tractor to roll over him, local police said.
The long-serving Democratic congressman passed away at at the St. Elizabeth Health Center, the Youngstown Vindicator reported.
Traficant represented Ohio’s 17th congressional district from 1985 to 2002. He leaves behind a legacy as a colorful character and is remembered by many for a criminal conviction.
A former football player at the University of Pittsburgh, Traficant went on to play the role of hometown hero after graduation, serving as a drug counselor and county sheriff.
In the House, Traficant was known for his vibrant language and humorous one-liners. He will perhaps be best remembered for his signature phrase, “Beam me up, Mr. Speaker,” during floor speeches.
While Traficant was one to provide amusement in Washington, the Justice Department wasn’t always laughing.
In April 2002, Traficant was convicted on 10 charges of bribery, racketeering and tax evasion. He was expelled from the House later that year by a 420-1 vote.
Although not a lawyer, Traficant, Jr, represented himself during his trial in 2002, as well in an earlier bribery trial in 1983, in which he was acquitted. He took up painting as a hobby while he served his sentence from 2002-2009.
Months after his release from prison, Traficant filed for office as an independent but lost the election to regain his old seat to sitting Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat.
Since then, Traficant had spent a lot of time on his farm.
By Sara Fischer