Ex-Congressman Mel Reynolds taken into custody

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Former congressman Mel Reynolds is behind bars on the orders of a federal judge. (WLS)

Former U.S. Representative Mel Reynolds was taken into custody Wednesday on the orders of a federal judge.

Reynolds is accused of failing to file taxes from 2009 to 2012. In a bizarre twist, Reynolds arrived for court Wednesday morning and promptly fired his attorney.

"Realistically, I think a trained lawyer is probably going to give him a better chance than an untrained defendant," said Richard Kling, Reynold's former attorney.

The hearing then took another strange turn when U.S. District Judge John Darrah ordered that Reynolds be taken into custody, after he insisted that he did not have a place to live that would allow him to be placed on electronic monitoring.

The ex-congressman had been given until Wednesday to find a new place to live, so his whereabouts could be tracked with an electronic monitoring device. Reynolds has lifetime residency restrictions and can't live too close to a school or playground due to a 1995 conviction for having sex with an underage campaign worker.

"The judge made it very clear last week, he had a choice either he would make arrangements to be on the electronic monitoring or he was going into custody. So, that was not a surprise," said Kling.

Reynolds asked for more time but was denied by the judge, who said he had already violated the conditions of his bond twice. First, he visited Zambia without the court's permission. Most recently, he took a trip to South Africa and failed to return to Chicago in time for a March 31 hearing. Reynolds said he had been taking care of his ill daughter during that trip, but questions arose when his daughter was seen in social media posts, appearing healthy and traveling through Europe.

The court issued a warrant for his arrest and Reynolds was taken into custody last week in Atlanta.

"I think the judge made it very clear one of the thorns in his side was whether Reynolds was accurate regarding his travels. I think that was a serious issue," said Kling.

Reynolds said he is being treated unfairly and has accused the government of violating his privacy.

His trial is set to begin June 20. After firing Kling, he told the judge that he plans to represent himself.

The judge ordered that Reynolds be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Related Topics:
newsarrestu.s. & worldtax evasionChicago - Loop
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