Youngstown Congressman Jim Traficant, whose fondness for bad hair and wild conspiracy theories is legend, is trying to enlist President Clinton in his vendetta against the FBI. Last week, Traficant requested a presidential pardon for Michael "Beef" Terlecky, an ex-sheriff's deputy convicted of racketeering in 1990. Presidents have been known to issue some startling pardons during their last days in office, but don't expect much action on this one.
Beef has already served his year in prison after pleading guilty to accepting $35,000 to protect a gambling ring. But the former deputy still asserts he was nailed by an FBI agent who wanted to shield a mobster Beef was investigating. Now it just so happens the agent in question also testified against Traficant in his 1983 trial, when the then-sheriff beat charges that he took bribes from the Mob. No word on whether the agent will testify at Traficant's next trial. The congressman expects those pesky feds to indict him soon, as part of their continuing persecution.
Councilman Joe Jones was surprised when Mayor White's campaign committee placed "wanted"-style ads in Cleveland Life and the Call & Post that tarred five councilmen, including Jones, as "fair housing blockers." Jones, after all, had been an ally of the mayor's. But backstabbing is one thing. Combining it with "bad taste" is another matter. That's what Jones calls the actions of leafletters -- presumably White supporters -- who handed out copies of the ad outside the councilman's 32nd birthday party/fund-raiser. "How can a mayor turn against a person who has supported him?" asks Jones.
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