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Ex-congressman Reynolds gets out of jail, but trial still awaits

Mel Reynolds in 2012 | AP file photo

Mel Reynolds has found a place to live outside of a federal jail — in south suburban Monee.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez approved the former congressman’s release from custody during a short court hearing Thursday morning, where Reynolds appeared in orange prison garb. She ordered him to reside at an address in Monee, where he will be restricted from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day.

He will also be subjected to electronic monitoring.

U.S. District Judge John Darrah ordered Reynolds into a federal jail two months ago because Reynolds couldn’t find a place to stay where he could be monitored electronically. Further complicating matters were lifetime restrictions on Reynolds’ residency stemming from his conviction decades ago for having sex with an underage campaign worker.

But last week, Reynolds filed a handwritten motion indicating a family friend helped him “find a location to reside that has been approved by local police and authorities that meets statutory requirements.”

A federal prosecutor did not object to Reynolds’ release Thursday. Though he has been held at a detention center in Kankakee, attorney Richard Kling said Reynolds would be released from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. Reynolds is representing himself in the case, and Kling is serving as stand-by counsel.

Reynolds has been accused of failing to file federal income tax returns between 2009 and 2012. A trial on the misdemeanor charges has been set for Sept. 19.