Thursday, February 20, 2014
Crime and the black politician: Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds has pleaded not guilty in a Zimbabwe court to charges of possessing pornography
Reynolds will also have to enter a plea on a separate charge of breaking Zimbabwe's immigration laws. Reynolds lost his seat representing Illinois almost 20 years ago after being convicted of statutory rape. Reynolds, who is 62, overstayed his visa and brought several Zimbabwean models and other women to his hotel room where he took photographs and videos. In Zimbabwe, Reynolds helped draw investment to hotel and office projects and is also known for his opposition to U.S. sanctions against President Robert Mugabe. Reynolds, a Harvard graduate and former Rhodes scholar, was once viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party. He resigned from his congressional seat in 1995 after he was convicted by a jury of having sex with a former campaign worker while she was underage, and then trying to thwart the investigation. While in prison he was also convicted of bank and campaign fraud for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign. He was in jail until his sentence was commuted by then-President Bill Clinton in January 2001.