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Rep. Reynolds’ Sex-Abuse Case Sent to Jury

<i> from Associated Press</i>

A prosecutor Monday accused Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.) of luring a 16-year-old campaign volunteer into a sexual relationship “like a hunter stalks his prey.”

“He used everything he had, his position . . . his office, to get her to have sex with him,” Assistant State’s Atty. Colleen Hyland told the jury during closing arguments at the 43-year-old congressman’s sex-abuse trial.

Jurors began deliberations about 4:30 p.m. and adjourned after 3 1/2 hours without a verdict. Deliberations were to resume today.

After four weeks of trial, both sides focused final arguments on just two witnesses: Reynolds and Beverly Heard, the former campaign worker who says she had sex with the congressman when she was 16 and 17.

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Reynolds has denied having had sex with Heard, now 19, saying they engaged only in fantasy sex talk on the phone.

Defense attorney Ed Genson said Reynolds was targeted by a lying, “bizarre” teen-ager who tried to use telephone sexual fantasies to extort money from the two-term lawmaker.

His voice rising, Genson shook his fists and shouted to the jury that Heard “lied in this courtroom in front of your very eyes!”

Genson earlier noted that Heard had at one time recanted her story of having sex with Reynolds. She agreed to testify after being jailed for 11 days.

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He told jurors he wasn’t there to defend Reynolds’ sins, ethics, hormones or “middle-age crazies.”

Reynolds is charged with sexual abuse, sexual assault, child pornography and obstruction, for allegedly trying to get the girl to recant.


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