Disgraced Fmr. Rep. James Traficant Released From Prison

Nine-term Ohio Dem released from jail after serving out a bribery conviction.

ByABC News
September 2, 2009, 2:48 PM

Sept. 2, 2009— -- 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.

The former congressman from Youngstown faces three years of probation, which will be regulated by the Northern District of Ohio, according to Cansino.

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."