CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago ordered former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds taken into custody at a hearing on Wednesday after finding Reynolds’ proposed place of residence while on bail in a tax case to be unacceptable.
U.S. District Judge John Darrah ordered Reynolds taken into custody after determining that the proposed residence would be too close to a school or playground for Reynolds to stay there while on bail with electronic monitoring. The former Illinois congressman will remain in custody until his June 20 trial or until he can make suitable living arrangements, said Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.
Reynolds has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return. He has residency restrictions due to a 1995 conviction for having had sex with an underage campaign worker.
Darrah ordered Reynolds’ arrest last month after he failed to show up for a hearing in the tax case. Reynolds was in South Africa, where he said he was caring for his 23-year-old daughter, Marisol, who he said may need surgery for scoliosis and may have cervical cancer.
Prosecutors expressed doubt about Reynolds’ story, citing his daughter’s social media updates from Berlin in February, when he was supposed to be caring for her in Africa.
On Wednesday, Reynolds admitted that she was in Germany, but he said she was there seeking alternative medicine, Fitzpatrick said. He said the judge said he thought she was there on vacation.
Also during Wednesday’s hearing, Reynolds told Darrah that his attorney, Richard Kling, was no longer representing him and that he would represent himself.
A Harvard graduate and a Rhodes Scholar, Reynolds resigned from his 2nd Congressional District seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign worker. He served 2½ years in prison.
Later, he was convicted in federal court of concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign. He was sentenced to 6½ years in federal prison and had two years left when then-President Bill Clinton commuted the sentence in 2001.
(Photo Source: AP)