The Edge

Courtroom Etiquette; Begging Pardon; Mayoral Bad Taste

Pagers long ago replaced dogs as a drug dealer's best friend. That doesn't mean it's wise to bring one's best friend to court. Take the case of the woman who recently faced Judge Kenneth Callahan to account for her most recent sins -- riding in a stolen car and possession of an unregistered gun. Callahan probed matters surrounding her latest arrest and asked if she was "clean" of drugs. During the course of the woman's 10-minute hearing, however, her telltale pager erupted six times. Talk about your holiday shopping! Callahan was not amused and sentenced the cringing woman to six months.

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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