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Former US Congressman Appears in Zimbabwean Court

Mel ReynoldsA former US congressman has appeared in court in Zimbabwe on charges of possessing pornographic images and staying in the country without a valid visa.

Mel Reynolds, 62, a convicted sex offender in the United States, was arrested at a hotel on Monday and faces a maximum two-year jail term or a fine if convicted on the pornography charge.

Asked by reporters as he arrived at Harare magistrate court how he had been treated in police custody, Reynolds replied: “Fine.”

The former Illinois congressman said he did not have a lawyer to represent him. He was due to appear before a magistrate later in the day.

State prosecutors charge that Reynolds was caught with “nude pictures and videos of naked women and men having sexual intercourse” on his mobile phone, according to the copy of the charge sheet. Possession of pornography is illegal in Zimbabwe.

Prosecutors also say Reynolds was living in the country with an expired visa after arriving in November. He could be deported if convicted.

The state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Reynolds had run up $24,500 in unpaid hotel bills.

Reynolds was a fast-rising star in the Democratic party when he was forced to resign in 1995 after being convicted of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography.


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