Congressman Accused of Engineering Claims By Sex-Case Witness
Apr. 19, 1995
CHICAGO (AP) _ Prosecutors accused U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds of trying to sabotage their sex-abuse case against him by writing false affidavits for the teen-age accuser who later recanted and paying her lawyer.
At a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, prosecutors said Reynolds arranged two affidavits in which Beverly Heard and her lesbian lover claimed prosecutors threatened them with jail if Heard refused to make wiretapped phone calls in which she and Reynolds discussed sexual encounters.
In a separate written motion, they said Reynolds had an aide in his Washington office type the affidavits from Reynolds' own hand-written notes. The aide then gave copies to prosecutors.
Reynolds, a two-term Chicago Democrat, is charged with having sex with Heard, a campaign volunteer, starting in 1992 when she was 16. He also is charged with trying to obstruct investigators.
Assistant State's Attorney Andrea Zopp said Reynolds paid Heard's lawyer, Reginald Turner, approximately $3,000 in January and February. She didn't say what the payments were for. The written motion said the money involved a $2,100 personal check that Turner had someone else cash at a currency exchange and a $950 cashier's check cashed at the same exchange.
Turner announced at a hearing in January that Heard was taking back her accusations that she had sex with Reynolds.
Reynolds, 43, declined to comment on Wednesday's hearing.
In another development, Reynolds' lawyer, Ed Genson, tried to resign from the case Wednesday, citing ``ethical and moral'' reasons. Circuit Judge Fred G. Suria Jr. ordered him to stay on.
Suria also delayed the start of Reynolds' trial from May 5 to July 5.
Genson didn't say why he wanted out, but said it had nothing to do with money.
Also Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported Reynolds is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud and owes at least $145,000 in overdue bills and bounced checks.
The bank fraud investigation stems from Reynolds' failure to disclose all his debts in at least one loan application, the Tribune reported, citing court records.
Reynolds blamed his spiraling debt on the sex charges, saying he and his family could lose their house.
``Every single dime we have goes to lawyers,'' he said.