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Traficant to face ethics committee hearing

From Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Embattled Rep. James Traficant, who was convicted earlier this year on corruption charges, will face a public hearing before the House Ethics Committee next month to determine whether he should be penalized by Congress.

The committee made that announcement Thursday while issuing a 10-count list of violations against the Ohio Democrat.

Similar to a trial, the hearing will be used to determine what penalty Traficant's colleagues might impose on him for what the ethics committee described as his "continuing pattern and practice of official misconduct through which he misused his office for personal gain."

If the charges against Traficant are "proven by clear and convincing evidence," he could face penalties ranging from a mild reprimand to expulsion.

Congressional leaders had urged Traficant to resign before his ethics probe reached this stage. They have said he should be expelled if he does not.

Traficant, who remains free on bond, faces up to 63 years in prison after he was convicted in March on 10 federal counts of bribery and racketeering. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30.

Traficant, who is appealing his conviction, has vowed to defend himself before the committee. The nine-term congressman is running for re-election as an Independent in a newly drawn district.

The House hearing will be held Monday, July 15 at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.


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