CLEVELAND, April 12 (UPI) -- Despite guilty verdicts on all 10 federal corruption counts against him, Rep. James Traficant says he will seek re-election as an independent and appeal his conviction -- even if he must do it to from prison.
The Youngstown Democrat remained free on $50,000 bond Friday and angrily rejected a call by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt that he resign from his seat in Congress. Traficant's Ohio district was eliminated and he said he would run as an independent in the 17th District. He must formally declare his candidacy by May 6.
The House Ethics Committee is expected to open disciplinary hearings on Traficant, who was convicted Thursday of bribery, racketeering, accepting illegal gifts and kickbacks, obstruction of justice and tax evasion.
The nine-term congressman will be allowed to collect his congressional pension.
Traficant, 60, faces up to 63 years in prison, more than $2 million in fines and possible expulsion from the House.
"I don't think I was tried by a jury of my peers," Traficant said Thursday. "I think it made a difference. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I've never been a quitter."
In a statement issued by his Washington office, the outspoken congressman accused U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells of favoring prosecutors, limiting his defense and keeping defense witnesses from testifying during the more than two-months-long trial.
Traficant defended himself, with sometimes farcical results, even through he is not a lawyer and some jurors said he hurt his own case. Sentencing was scheduled for June 27.