Don’t Expect Bush to Pardon Traficant Before Leaving Office
By Michael Collins Piper
President George W. Bush has said repeatedly, privately, in the past, that a pardon for wrongfully imprisoned former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) is off the table. And it now appears that Bush intends to leave office with Traficant remaining in prison until his unusually long sentence (eight years) ends in August of 2009.
Former Youngstown Mayor George M. McKelvey—a Democrat—made national news in 2004 when he endorsed Bush. He has been urging Bush to grant Traficant either a presidential pardon or a commutation of his prison sentence.
McKelvey has been asking Bush, since 2004—two years after Traficant was sent to prison—to give Traficant his freedom, but the president refuses to act. For his own part, Traficant has refused a pardon, because to accept a pardon would require that he admit to committing crimes that he says he did not commit.
In a radio interview on December 1, McKelvey pointed out that Traficant is serving a longer sentence than most people convicted on second-degree murder charges, declaring the Traficant case “the greatest injustice in the history of this state.”
Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff—a hardline advocate for Israel whose mother was a citizen of Israel—was, at the time of the Traficant prosecution by the Justice Department, the head of the department’s criminal division and thus the individual who spearheaded Traficant’s unjust prosecution.
Critics contend that Chertoff’s hostility to Traficant stemmed from the fact that, as Traficant himself said both privately and publicly, Traficant was, in his words, “the No. 1 target” of the Israeli lobby.
The full, never-before-told story of the corrupt Justice Department campaign to destroy Traficant is told in Target: Traficant.
Another case of Bush’s injustice is his refusal to commute the more than 10-year sentences of U.S. Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, who used firearms in the line of duty, protecting the border.
A journalist specializing in media critique, Michael Collins Piper is the author of The High Priests of War, The New Jerusalem, Dirty Secrets, The Judas Goats, The Golem, Target Traficant and My First Days in the White House All are available from AFP.
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(Issue # 51, December 22, 2008)