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Is Jim Traficant the #1 target of the FBI or a mobbed-up political pariah that violated his people’s trust? *Features Ed O'Neill Read more

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This project was successfully funded on November 30, 2011.

Is Jim Traficant the #1 target of the FBI or a mobbed-up political pariah that violated his people’s trust? *Features Ed O'Neill

About this project


I understand that everyone's time and money is very limited. I appreciate you taking the time to watch the trailer and read a little about this project. This is a passion that has consumed me over the past 10 years, and I'm on the cusp of a dream coming alive!  

Your support and generosity can propel us over the finish line. Please help spread the good word! 


My producer, Jeff Alberini, and I have been filming off and on since September 2009 when Jim Traficant was released from prison after 7+ years of incarceration. I've funded the project out of pocket up to this point, with Jeff providing all camera/sound equipment. 

While we anticipate ultimately needing more money to complete the project, the desired $25,000 will kickstart our post-production and allow us to complete our final round of interviews.  Any additional resources will be used to acquire expensive news coverage. 


I’ll construct a penetrating examination utilizing unprecedented access to the gangsters, F.B.I. agents and elected officials that survived the bloodiest gangland turf war and political corruption sting in United States history.

sample interviewee list:

Ed O'Neill - Modern Family star and Youngstown native

Congressman Tim Ryan - Traficant's former aid, defeated him for         Congressional seat.

Patrick Ungaro - Mayor of Youngstown 1984-1998.

Paul Gains - Mahoning County Prosecutor, survived mob hit.

*and many other key players. 


Jim Traficant was a legendary gridiron quarterback turned mob busting Walking Tall Sheriff who rose to power on a platform of “honesty in politics”. He quickly ascended to the hallowed halls of Congress, becoming its most outspoken member. Known as the Lenny Bruce of Congress; with wild hair, thrift store suits and cowboy boots, his profanity laced one-minute speeches scorched the FBI and IRS. His speeches made C-SPAN must see programming, as he signed off with his patented “Beam Me Up!”

On the streets of his blue-collar hometown the debate rages today –  Is Traficant a fearless prophet targeted by a vengeful government or a mobbed-up political pariah that violated his people’s trust? ‘Jimbo’, as his die-hard supporters call him, has been a divisive lightning rod since emerging on the public scene.

Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio where the ordinary rules of law do not apply.  In 1963, The Saturday Evening Post called it the most corrupt city in America, dubbing it Crimetown, U.S.A.The once booming steel industry collapsed overnight, leaving fifty thousand men jobless, just as organized crime syndicates from Cleveland and Pittsburgh killed each other in the streets. The downtrodden community seemingly turned a blind eye as they scrambled for survival.

In 1980, the FBI discovered audio recordings with Sheriff Traficant soliciting and accepting bribes from both sides of the warring mob factions – promising them both exclusive control over the multi-million dollar rackets.The FBI indicted Traficant, who immediately signed a confession.  In a most unorthodox fashion, Traficant defended himself claiming he was running a “one man sting operation” against the mob – and he persuaded the jury.  To this day he remains the only person to defeat the government in a RICO case, pro se. He returned to a hero’s welcome and was elected to Congress the following year.  His firebrand of populism earned landslide re-elections for the next eighteen years. Until…

Christmas Eve 1996, the local mafia boss ordered the assassination of the newly elected “honest” County Prosecutor. The FBI descended upon Youngstown, “flipping” the mafia boss.  His testimony secured one hundred indictments, implicating everyone from the dog-catcher to the Congressman, in a tangled web of corruption and murders.

After serving seven years in federal prison, Traficant re-emerged in the public eye – proclaiming his innocence, and demanding his old seat back.  In 2010, he ran for Congress against his one time protégé Congressman Tim Ryan.  Cameras embedded in Congressman Ryan’s campaign, provide a visceral look into the election that finally forced Youngstown to reconcile with its dismal past while struggling to define its tenuous future.  Only in Youngstown… 


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- (60 days)