All-New Evidence Discovered Proving
Jim Traficant Was Victim of Frame-Up
By Michael Collins Piper
Although the book Target: Traficant presents a wide array of evidence demonstrating that U.S. Justice Department lawyers committed a variety of outrages against Jim Traficant and many of his longtime friends in the wide-ranging effort to “get” Traficant, during his recent talk at his “welcome home” event, Traficant referenced another individual, Nnamdi J. Okolo, also victimized by the Justice Department as part of the campaign to find “evidence” to send Traficant to prison.
Traficant pointed out that the Okolo story has never been reported in the Youngstown area newspapers (which have otherwise been eager to report many negative things about Traficant over the years). Here is Traficant’s story:
“There’s a young Nigerian, a black man, who approached me at Allenwood Prison when I was walking around the track. He said to me, ‘You’re the reason I’m in prison.’ . . . I thought the guy was going to hit me and he said, ‘No, I’m not going to hit you.’
“ ‘The government pressured me to lie against you. They wanted me to lie against [Richard] Detore to pressure Detore [to give false testimony] against you.’
“He said, ‘I don’t know you from Adam, but Detore has two small children like me and I would have had to hurt Detore, too. And I’ll be honest with you, if it had been just you, I would have done what they wanted, but I just couldn’t do it to Detore.’ ”
Here’s a brief overview of the shocking story mentioned by Traficant:
For one month, in 1999, at a time when his own car was being repaired, Traficant rented a car from a suburban Washington, D.C. car rental agency co-owned by Nigerian-born Okolo, a resident alien.
The initial credit card security for the car was provided by the aforementioned Richard Detore who was associated with USAG, an aeronautics company that Traficant hoped would be able to provide jobs for people in his congressional district.
Okolo handled the transaction and was aware that although Detore was allowing his credit card to be used to secure the auto, Traficant was listed as the additional driver and it was understood that Traficant would pay for the actual rental when he returned the car.
However, Okolo was out of the office when the congressman returned the car and an employee improperly charged the rental to Detore’s credit card (and, in fact, was reprimanded for doing so when the mistake was brought to Okolo’s attention by Detore and Traficant).
And as Okolo later pointed out, the rental forms noted that Detore’s credit card number was marked clearly—from the beginning—for security purposes (not payment) only.
Sometime after this transaction, Okolo was charged with bank fraud relating to a number of problematic transactions involving the affairs of his business partnership with several others, and he opted to take a plea bargain agreement with the government and as a consequence was sent to federal prison at Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
Okolo had absolutely no relationship to the then ongoing Justice Department inquiry aimed at Traficant. However, in July of 2001, federal agents contacted him. Through their own inquiries into Traficant’s affairs, they had learned that Okolo had rented the car to Traficant. Present were Okolo’s lawyer and an officer of the federal Bureau of Prisons.
The federal agents told Okolo that if he were to testify that the intent was for the car rental to have actually been paid for by Detore—in other words, that it was a disguised bribe for Traficant—that they could make his problems “go away.”
Okolo asked the agents what would happen to Detore and he was told that Detore would be charged with a crime involving his dealings with Traficant and that the government would then ask Detore to testify against Traficant.
But Okolo refused to lie about his dealings with Traficant and Detore and his own problems consequently got worse: he was indicted on yet a second bank fraud charge after the federal authorities put pressure on his wife and former business associates to testify against him.
By the fall of 2002 Okolo found himself joined as an inmate at Allen by none other than Jim Traficant, who had finally been brought down through similar corrupt practices by the Justice Department.
However, less than a month after he spoke to Traficant and told Traficant how he had inadvertently become a part of the Justice Department campaign against the congressman, Okolo found himself “put on the bus” and, according to an affidavit Okolo filed with the Nigerian government, “ I was moved from prison to prison among 10 or 11 facilities in the Bureau of Prisons system for almost an entire year, during which time I was reported ‘in transit’ and wound up visiting death row in Baltimore.”
In March of 2005 Okolo was deported to Nigeria before his U.S. imprisonment was scheduled to end, but, as Okolo said in his affidavit, “If I had lied, like so many others in Congressman Traficant’s case, I would still be in the United States, with no legal or criminal or IRS problems. I want to be heard, and America should insist that I be allowed to return to my family.”
In the end, Okolo was told that if he didn’t recant the things he charged in his affidavit the U.S. immigration authorities would begin deportation proceedings against his 70-year-old parents.
And it should be noted, for the record—as described in a full chapter in the book Target: Traficant [See ad on page 14.—Ed.]—that Richard Detore (who was central to the scenario outlined by the Nigerian man) also refused to make false charges against Traficant.
Detore told the Justice Department—in words to this effect: “I didn’t bribe Traficant nor did I try to bribe him nor do I have any knowledge of any effort by anybody else to bribe Traficant. I haven’t committed a crime and I don’t know of any crimes committed by Jim Traficant and I’m not going to testify and say that Traficant committed a crime.”
What happened to Mr. Detore? He was indicted for conspiring to bribe Traficant.
However, Detore did not testify at Traficant’s trial because, at that time, he was facing a separate trial in another case and was urged by his attorneys not to. Although that legal advice may have been justified, in that instance, Detore later charged that his attorneys, in other matters, had otherwise betrayed him and he sought new legal counsel.
Then, afterward, he did testify on Traficant’s behalf before Congress when the House Ethics Committee was holding hearings in preparation for the expulsion of Traficant from the House following his conviction. And
by doing so, Detore was risking his own legal status, since anything he said in that testimony could potentially be used against him in his own upcoming trial.
However, Detore went public, before Congress, and said, essentially, “The only people who are guilty of anything here are the FBI and the Justice Department attorneys who told me that if I didn’t lie against Traficant that I would be indicted and possibly be convicted and sent to jail.”
People who saw the testimony said that it was overwhelming to watch and that Detore was clearly telling the truth. And those who have read the testimony concur that the substance of Detore’s testimony conclusively pointed toward illegal government maneuvering against Traficant (and Detore and Okolo) in criminal violation of all standards of the law and justice.
Yet, despite Detore’s testimony, the House Ethics Committee voted to recommend that the full House expel Traficant from Congress, which, of course, did indeed happen.
And by the way, when Detore finally went to trial, he was unanimously acquitted.
Jim Traficant’s own words summarize it best:
What has happened to America? The government is starting to pressure sons against fathers, mothers to testify against their sons. Don’t we have enough history to recognize there was another nation that did that and they killed many innocent people, didn’t they? I think it’s time we send a message.
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(Issue # 39, September 21 & 28, 2009)