Prosecutor Tries To Trap Reynolds With His Own Words
CHICAGO (AP) _ Rep. Mel Reynolds dueled with a prosecutor in his sex-abuse trial Tuesday as she tried to trip him up with his own words from explicit phone conversations he had with his teen-age accuser.
Reynolds stumbled a few times but seemed calm and confident during much of the questioning from assistant prosecutor Colleen Hyland.
``This is the dramatic cross we’ve been waiting for, oh boy,″ he cracked as he walked past reporters during a break.
Reynolds, 43, had gambled that he could withstand cross-examination when he took the stand Monday and admitted having explicit phone conversations with Beverly Heard, while denying they had sex when she was 16 and 17.
The prosecution’s case is built around Heard’s testimony and two telephone conversations _ taped by police _ in which Reynolds and Heard discuss sex.
Hyland had Reynolds read some of his most graphic lines from a transcript of the conversations as she attempted to show that they discussed real sex acts, not fantasies. Reynolds obliged but repeatedly denied the discussions were about reality, often trying to talk over Hyland’s next question in an effort to elaborate on his answers.
Hyland forced Reynolds to admit that at least part of the first taped conversation wasn’t fantasy, when he and Heard agreed to meet at his congressional office on June 6, 1994. Reynolds told Heard on the phone that he had wanted to have sex with her when she arrived.
``That wasn’t a fantasy sex conversation, was it?″ Hyland asked.
Reynolds replied that the part about sex was fantasy.
``But you intended to meet Beverly?″ Hyland replied.
``I guess so,″ Reynolds said.
Hyland asked Reynolds about one passage where he asked Heard to get Polaroid photographs of a 15-year-old girl Heard said might be interested in having sex with Reynolds.
``As far as I was concerned it was fantasy conversation, that’s exactly what it was,″ Reynolds said.
Hyland showed Reynolds photographs of naked women that were mailed to him by a woman who lives in New York, suggesting these were the same kind of lewd pictures he wanted Heard to get of the 15-year-old.
Reynolds said they weren’t the same kind of photos. He said he hadn’t seen the photos until the case began, that a former staffer who testified against him had stolen his mail.
Later, Hyland pounded away at phone calls Reynolds made to the FBI and U.S. attorney in the days after the taped conversations were made, when he suspected he was the subject of an investigation. She seized on several statements that seemed to conflict with his testimony Monday.
Reynolds denied making some statements, confirmed some and said he didn’t remember others.
Hyland also confronted Reynolds with payments he made from campaign and personal checking accounts to cover the rent on a suburban apartment, as well as money orders to Sophia Green, who lived in the apartment. Heard testified that she had sex with Reynolds and a menage a trois with Reynolds and Green at the apartment.
Reynolds said he occasionally paid the rent to help Green, a campaign volunteer, and that his wife sometimes authorized payments for work Green did for her.
Reynolds is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, child pornography and obstruction of justice. The black Democrat contends he is the target of a politically motivated white prosecutor.
Earlier in the day, Cook County Circuit Judge Fred G. Suria acquitted Reynolds’ co-defendant and released him, ruling prosecutors hadn’t proven the obstruction of justice charges against him.
Eddie McIntyre, the boyfriend of Heard’s mother, had been accused of working with Reynolds to take Heard to Tennessee and keep her away from investigators in an effort to sabotage the case.