Ex-Con Former US Rep Dies After Tractor Accident

James Traficant was expelled from Congress in rare move
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2014 2:59 PM CDT
Ex-Con Former US Rep Dies After Tractor Accident
FILE - In this July 15, 2002 file photo, Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Ethics Committee. Traficant, who spent time in prison on corruption and racketeering charges, has died after being critically injured in a tractor accident at his northeast...   (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)

Former Ohio Congressman James Traficant, who served time in jail on a corruption conviction, has died at 73 after a tractor accident, according to reports. The vehicle flipped over onto him while he was trying to park it, the AP reports. He spent four days in the hospital and died today, a Democratic official tells the news organization. Traficant, who spent 17 years in Congress, was expelled in 2002 following his conviction; he was just the second lawmaker since the Civil War to be voted out of the body, the AP notes.

The Democrat spent seven years in prison after prosecutors said he took bribes and coerced employees into working on his farm and houseboat. Prior to his time in jail, he made a name for himself as a colorful character in Congress. He "was best known for his improbable hair piece and his outlandish suits" as well as "the broadsides he launched at Republicans, his fellow Democrats, and big government," says a commentator with NPR partner WKSU. Rep. Tim Ryan, who currently holds Traficant's former seat, notes that he was a force: "The only other person I can think of is Bill Clinton. It's that level of electricity." (More James Traficant stories.)

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