New twist in Mel Reynolds legal troubles

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CHICAGO -- Former Southside congressman Mel Reynolds was a no show for court today.

His attorney says he's dealing with his daughter's health issues somewhere overseas.

Reynolds is facing four counts of tax evasion.

Each of the four counts carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Today's court hearing is the latest setback for the 63-year-old Reynolds -  a former Rhodes scholar and once a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Reynolds was convicted in 1995 of criminal sexual abuse, obstruction of justice and child pornography charges for having sex with an underage campaign intern.

While in prison for that case, Reynolds was convicted again — in 1997 on 15 counts of federal campaign and bank fraud — for illegally raising campaign cash and defrauding banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison.

His sentence was later commuted by former president bill Clinton to time served.

Last year Reynolds was arrested and jailed in Zimbabwe on charges he had sexually explicit photos and videos on his mobile phone in violation of a censorship law.

The porn charges were dropped and Reynolds pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor visa violation and was deported.

He's scheduled to be back in court on July 30th.

Reynolds' attorney says he is now facing misdemeanor charges and not the more serious felony tax charges.


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