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Former Chicago Congressman Reynolds Arrested, Again

Former Rep. Mel Reynolds in Zimbabwe custody after his 2014 arrest on accusations of possessing pornography and violating immigration law.

Another former congressman from Illinois has been arrested as officials caught up with Mel Reynolds on Monday.

The Reynolds (D-Chicago) was arrested in Atlanta on a warrant filed by a federal judge in Chicago for violating his bond terms stemming from misdemeanor tax charges. The one-time congressman of Illinois’ 2nd District (famously occupied by recently released Jesse Jackson, Jr.), had recently returned from a South African trip to see his daughter. Reynolds said she is seriously ill.

The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection now holds him in custody pending an appearance before a federal magistrate in Atlanta later Monday afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune’s report from the Chicago U.S. attorney’s office.

The warrant was issued on April 1 after Reynolds stated his intentions to stay in South Africa despite his bond requirements. He has been allowed to travel to the African continent twice since pleading not guilty to tax accusations. In November, Judge John Darrah handed a stern warning to the former representative after discovering Reynolds was caught traveling to Zambia from Johannesburg without authorization.

The resulting efforts to have him placed on electronic monitoring while remaining on bond prompted Reynolds to claim the color of his skin for the harsh treatment.

“In 2015, they want to treat a black man like he’s a slave,” Reynolds said.

This is not the first time Reynolds has been in trouble with the law. In 2014, he was arrested in Zimbabwe for violating the country’s immigration laws and for possessing pornography. He also was convicted on 12 counts of having sex with a minor while in Congress after it was discovered he was sleeping with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer while running for office. He was also convicted of 16 counts of bank fraud, misusing campaign funds for personal use and lying to the Federal Election Commission. His sentence was commuted in 2001 by then President Bill Clinton.

Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]

About the Author

Justin Shimko
Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]