Former congressman James Traficant of Ohio, remembered best for his outrageous wardrobe, unruly hairdos and fiery speeches on the House floor, was released from prison today after serving a seven-year sentence for bribery and racketeering.
The nine-term Ohio Democrat, whose hair is now tamed, sported a gray t-shirt and white shorts as he left the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn. Public information officer Dan Cansino of the center told ABC News that Traficant got into a cab that was waiting for him outside the facility.
It is not known whether the former congressman will return to public life, or what he will do next. When reached by ABC News, Traficant's wife refused to comment.
The 68-year-old maverick was known for his flamboyance and legal entanglements. A "Star Trek" aficionado, Traficant almost always finished his speeches on the House floor with the signature sign-off, "Beam me up."
The former congressman liked to put on a show, waving his arms, lambasting people he did not care for and using colorful language. His often eccentric behavior was punctuated with rhetoric such as, "I plan to fight like a junkyard dog" and "I ought to kick you right in the crotch."
After Traficant was convicted in 2002 of tax evasion and for taking bribes, hearings began in the House Ethics Committee to determine whether the body would recommend Traficant's expulsion from the House of Representatives.
On the final day of the hearing, the combative Ohio Democrat urged the committee to disregard everything the opposing council had said.
"I think they're delusionary. I think they have had something funny for lunch in their meal," he said. "I think they should be handcuffed to a chain-link fence, flogged, and all of their hearsay evidence should be thrown the hell out, and if they lie again, I'm going to go over and kick them in the crotch. Thank you very much."
While there have been many motions of expulsion in Congress' history, Traficant is part of an elite group -- one of just five -- who have been expelled from the House of Representatives.
In a 420-1 vote, the House found that "his conviction of conspiracy to commit bribery and to defraud US receipt of illegal gratuities, obstruction of justice, filing false tax returns and racketeering, in connection with receipt of favors and money in return for official acts, and receipt of salary kickbacks from staff," as documented by the Office of the House Historian, was grounds for expulsion.
In a memo provided to ABC News on members of the House who were expelled, the House historian also points out that the Ohio Democrat was the most recent and only the second member since the Civil War to be expelled.
During his life in the public eye, Traficant was long a target of suspicion by a grand jury looking into organized crime in Youngstown, but he always adamantly denied any ties to the mob.
"I have a hell of a record, and the mob hates Jim Traficant," he said. "In fact, Jim Traficant's life has been threatened by the mob, and I've had about enough of it."