Porn Charges Against Ex-Illinois Congressman Dropped in Africa

Mel Reynolds, who resigned from Congress in 1995 due to sex-related charges, pleaded guilty to immigration violations.

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Former Illinois Rep. Mel Reynolds

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Zimbabwe officials reportedly plan to release former Illinois Rep. Mel Reynolds from prison, after he was arrested on charges of pornography and an immigration violation.

Officials dropped pornography charges Friday, and he pleaded guilty to a visa violation, the Chicago Tribune reports. He could be freed and deported as early as Tuesday. 

The 62-year-old disgraced former Democratic representative, who resigned from Congress in 1995 due to sex-related charges, was thrust back into the limelight this week on allegations that he had nude pictures and videos of women and men having intercourse on his phone, the article states.

Reynolds denied the charges, which constituted an alleged violation of Zimbabwe’s Censorship and Entertainment Control Act and carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine, his lawyer Arthur Gurira told the Tribune.

But he pleaded guilty to staying Zimbabwe on an expired visa, a misdemeanor for which Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe said he should be deported. Reynolds was fined $100 or five days in prison. He has been in jail since Monday at the Bronte Hotel in the country's capital city of Harare.

The incident comes almost a year after he ran unsuccessfully for his old congressional seat under the slogan of “Redemption.” Reynolds, a former Rhodes scholar and rising star in the Democratic Party, was convicted in two separate cases in the 1990s for having sex with an underage campaign worker and for bank and campaign fraud, reports say.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.