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Former Congressman Pleads Not Guilty In Zimbabwe Courtroom To Possessing Porn Charge

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File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds appeared in a Zimbabwe courtroom Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing pornography and must remain in custody for another day at least.

Reynolds, who lost his seat representing Illinois almost 20 years ago after being convicted of statutory rape, is scheduled to appear in Magistrate’s Court in Harare again on Wednesday on a separate charge of violating immigration laws. He won’t be able to apply for bail until Thursday.

Wearing a dark suit and open-necked white shirt with no tie, he smiled as he walked past journalists’ cameras into the courthouse. He told reporters he had received no assistance from the U.S. Embassy.

Reynolds, who is 62, allegedly overstayed his visa and brought several Zimbabwean models and other women to his hotel room where he took photographs and videos, according to Zimbabwe’s state-controlled newspaper, the Herald.

In Zimbabwe, Reynolds helped draw investment to hotel and office projects and is also known for his opposition to sanctions against President Robert Mugabe.

Reynolds, a Harvard graduate and former Rhodes scholar, was once viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party. He resigned from his congressional seat in 1995 after he was convicted by a jury of having sex with a former campaign worker while she was underage, and then trying to thwart the investigation. While in prison he was also convicted of bank and campaign fraud for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign.

He was in jail until his sentence was commuted by then-President Bill Clinton in January 2001.

He made unsuccessful run again for Congress in 2004 and in 2013.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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