Mel Reynolds seeks probation in tax case, apologizes for ‘wasting’ court’s time

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Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after being found guilty on tax charges, Thursday, September, 28th, 2017. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds has asked a judge to sentence him to a year of probation in his tax case.

In a lengthy sentencing memo filed Tuesday — just two days before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman is scheduled to hand down his sentence — Reynolds apologized “for wasting the [court’s] time.”

It was a nod to the judge who last month voiced his frustration with the disgraced ex-congressman while begrudgingly agreeing to postpone the sentencing hearing to give Reynolds time to collect computerized airline travel records.

In his memo, Reynolds also asked Gettleman to allow him to move away from Chicago while on probation “so Defendant, if necessary, will be able to get his children to a secure place.”

Gettleman last month told Reynolds, who represented himself at trial, that his problems are almost all “self-inflicted,” because he has refused to make use of outside legal help.

Reynolds acknowledged as much in his memo, saying he “understands why the Court has expressed its frustration with Defendant for acting as his Pro-se counsel,” and that he would have accepted a plea deal if not for the “anger resulting from his ordeal” that led him “to cloud his judgment.”

Gettleman found Reynolds guilty last September of four misdemeanor counts for failing to file tax returns between 2009 and 2012, as he collected $433,000. Reynolds has insisted he received reimbursements — not income — from a pair of prominent businessmen, who helped fund trips Reynolds took to Africa.

Federal prosecutors are asking that the judge sentence Reynolds to two years in prison.

After representing the 2nd Congressional District from 1993 to 1995, Reynolds was convicted of having sex with an underage campaign worker. While in jail, the feds hit Reynolds with campaign finance charges for improperly using campaign funds. In 2001, former President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence.

His sentencing hearing is slated for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

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