Judge Throws Out Charge Against Co-Defendant of Congressman
CHICAGO (AP) _ The judge at the sex-abuse trial of Rep. Mel Reynolds denied motions today to throw out charges against the congressman, but exonerated the congressman’s co-defendant.
Judge Fred G. Suria said jurors should decide the charges accusing Reynols of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual abuse, child pornography and obstruction of justice.
He did acquit the other defendant, Eddie McIntyre, of obstruction of justice charges, saying the state had not proven its case. McIntyre’s girlfriend is the the mother of Beverly Heard, the woman who accuses Reynolds of having sex with her when she was 16 and 17.
``I cannot charge Mr. McIntyre with knowing whether Miss Heard was telling the truth ... therefore I cannot charge Mr. McIntyre in any way, shape or form with obstruction of justice,″ Suria said.
Prosecutors contended McIntyre took Heard to Tennessee to conceal her from investigators.
McIntyre showed little emotion in the courtroom when Suria announced the decision, but left the room smiling with one of Reynolds’ defense attorneys next to him.
``All I can say is, believe in God,″ McIntyre said after the verdict.
McIntyre had been a bit player throughout the case, taking a back seat to the more spectacular charges against Reynolds.
In four hours of testimony Monday, Reynolds portrayed himself as a man who rose above trying circumstances to become a Rhodes scholar and a congressman, only to fall victim to a weakness for phone sex with a troubled teen who pressured him for money.
In a calm, even voice, he replied over and over again that he never had sex with Beverly Heard. ``Not one time ever in my life,″ he said.
Reynolds, 43, contested nearly every point made by Heard, who testified a week earlier that she was 16 when Reynolds initiated their sexual relationship.
Reynolds had pushed his attorneys to let him take the stand _ a gamble that exposed him to potentially withering cross-examination.
Jurors took notes and frequently glanced at Reynolds as he testified before a packed courtroom Monday that he was counseling a troubled teen by phone on numerous occasions in 1993 after she came to him for help. In May 1993, he said, their conversations turned sexual.
``Unfortunately in life, one makes mistakes, one is weak,″ he said. ``It was probably the biggest mistake of my life.″
Reynolds described the phone conversations Heard made as prosecutors listened and recorded as fantasy talk.
``This is not easy. It’s extremely embarrassing,″ Reynolds said as Adam described the contents of the taped conversations.
But in an emphatic voice, Reynolds said he would never have sex with Heard because he did not want to give any sexually transmitted diseases to his wife, Marisol, because the two were trying to have another child.
Heard, now 19, told prosecutors Reynolds initiated a sexual relationship that continued until she was 17. She said they began having sex within a couple of weeks after meeting on the street outside a high school. He stopped her and told her she was pretty, she testified.
On the stand, Reynolds had a different story. He said he was campaigning at the time and tried to greet as many people as he could. He said he approached Heard and several other teens in June 1992 with the thought that they would tell their parents to vote for him.
Reynolds said shortly thereafter, Heard came to him for help getting into school and told him she was 18. He said he recommended her to an alternative high school in the city.
Reynolds testified that Heard asked him for $15,000 in April 1994, after she returned from the Air Force, because she was living on the street. Reynolds testified that he said no. He said she asked again the day before she went to police with her story.