BOARDMAN - Former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. repeatedly thanked his supporters, collectively and individually, for staying true to the cause and not being "duped" by the media and his "other enemies."
On Saturday, a jovial Traficant signed copies of his book, "America's Last Minuteman," a compilation of his one-minute speeches to Congress during his 17-year career, during a signing at Barnes and Noble in Boardman.
The hardback book costs about $35, and store representatives said they sold out of the some 200 copies they had in stock Saturday, and they have started taking orders for more.
"It's amazing what he's come through,'' said Jay Paul, who traveled from Sharon, Pa., to shake Traficant's hand and get his signature.
"I think the book will make a good read," Paul said. "I've always found him interesting and compelling."
Traficant, 71, spent seven years in federal prison after being convicted of bribery and racketeering in 2002. He ultimately was expelled from Congress, sentenced to eight years and fined $150,000. Later, after leaving prison, he hosted a short-lived radio show and made an unsuccessful bid for the 17th U.S. Congressional seat in 2010 while pushing for a Native American Indian casino for the Mahoning Valley.
Tribune Chronicle/ Virginia Shank
Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant greets longtime supporters George and Linda Yuricek of Warren on Saturday during a book signing.
Recently he has stayed under the radar, releasing his book last year.
"It's good to have him back," said George Yuricek of Warren, who attended the book signing with his wife, Linda. "I don't think there's any doubt he was right all along. He's always known what he was talking about. He didn't do anything wrong. We all know that."
The Yuriceks said they sent Traficant cards while he "was away." Like dozens of people on Saturday, they stood in line for hours to have an opportunity to "get close" to the embattled politician, who has garnered celebrity status within the district he once represented.
Traficant presented two faces on Saturday, thanking supporters in one breath while scolding local media representatives in the next and telling them to "get out."
"That's who Jim is,'' said Paul Kerr of Boardman. "He's not afraid of saying what he thinks, never has been. That's what people like about him. That's why we're here."