"I will be running for congress…as an independent," Traficant told CNN's Kyra Philips. "I have been a Democrat all my life, and quite frankly I am disgusted with both parties. I hate to say this. My father is rolling over in his grave, a truck driver."
In the House, Traficant was known for his flamboyant and eccentric style. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Democratic caucus. Let's see if the Dems welcome him back with open arms!
In 2002, Traficant was indicted on federal corruption charges for taking campaign funds for personal use. Again, he opted to represent himself, insisting that the trial was part of a vendetta against him dating to his 1983 trial. On April 15, he was convicted of 10 felony counts including bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion.
Traficant served his first 17 months in prison at FCI Allenwood and shortly after, he was shackled and put in solitary confinement for causing a riot after telling a guard, "People can't hear you. Speak up." For nine months, beginning in March 2004, he served with 20 inmates in one locked room at the Federal Correctional Institution Raybrook with a public commode, and with four in a room at Federal Medical Center, Rochester for three years. He was admonished by prison officials in Raybrook he was only a "few points away" from a penitentiary. In the seven years of incarceration, he refused any visitors because he didn't want anyone to see him. He wore his hair in a pony tail without his trademark hairpiece. Traficant took up artwork while in prison; according to his wife, he did not have access to a computer there . "I understood the dynamics of prison life." Regarding the overcrowded prison system he said, "And now what you have is, they want to keep the prisons open, keep the jobs going. They're putting 20, 30 years on some of these young people, and it's out of hand." He was released on September 2, 2009, at age 68, and is subject to three years of probation.
While in prison, Traficant received support from David Duke, who urged visitors to his personal website to donate to Traficant's canteen fund. Duke also posted a letter written by Traficant stating that he was targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for, among other things, defending John Demjanjuk. Traficant also claimed, in the letter, that he knew facts about "Waco, Ruby Ridge, Pan Am Flight 103, Jimmy Hoffa and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy", which he may divulge in the future. Author Michael Collins Piper, who initially helped circulate Traficant's letter, said that "There's stuff I've written about Traficant that's showing up in places I don't even know. It's like (six) degrees of separation with the Internet now," and denied that Traficant had any direct connections to Duke.