Mel Reynolds speaks about arrest in Zimbabwe

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former congressman Mel Reynolds is back in Chicago, talking about his arrest in Zimbabwe back in the winter. Officials in that country dropped a pornography possession charge against Reynolds.

Reynolds returned to Chicago to formally address the events that happened in Zimbabwe earlier this year, when he was arrested for overstaying his visa and also charged with possession of pornography on his cell phone- a charge that was dropped.

"There was never one video, one picture on the cell phone that they took from me. Not one," said Reynolds.

Reynolds was arrested in Zimbabwe in February and pleaded guilty to staying in the African country on an expired visa.

He says he made nearly 20 trips there in four years to help generate business between the U.S. and Zimbabwe, but ran afoul of the country's dictator, Robert Mugabe.

Reynolds says he was targeted because he had information about Americans who conduct illegal business there.

"All they had to do was to include sex in the charge and the press would go crazy. And that's exactly what happened," said Reynolds.

Reynolds, who lost his congressional seat in 1995 after he was convicted of sexual misconduct, blasted the media for its coverage of his pornography possession charge, saying news outlets did not try to verify the story.

"It was a total reckless disregard for the truth. That is the standard that I'm living by these days," said Reynolds.

Reynolds said he will file lawsuits for slander and defamation against several news outlets for their reports on his arrest. He did not specify which ones.

In the meantime, Reynolds says he is supporting himself with the help of friends. He says he was working as a consultant, but is not getting much business now since his arrest.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.