Mel Reynolds has a problem.
The federal government does not like where he lives. So much so, that at one point Thursday, the former congressman was effectively homeless.
Reynolds, the one-time rising star who once hobnobbed with the Clintons at the White House, only to resign in disgrace, faces misdemeanor charges of failing to file his income taxes.
"All I'm looking for in this matter is a fair trial," he declared at a press conference earlier this week. "This case is really about power, and bias, and covering up for a very powerful political fundraiser!"
Reynolds made an initial appearance Thursday before Federal Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez, but at that hearing, prosecutors pointed out that the address Reynolds gave as his current residence, was within 1,000 feet of a school. And because of a previous sex conviction, that was in violation of where he was allowed to live.
The judge took a recess, to check an alternative address Reynolds gave as a place where he might move, to determine if it fit the criteria. But when the parties returned, a representative of pretrial services informed the court that the second location also did not fit with the residency requirements of Reynolds’ previous conviction.
Reynolds’ attorney Richard Kling proposed a third location, a Red Roof Inn in Northwest Indiana. But before the parties could even respond, the judge shot that location down, leaving Reynolds and his attorney scrambling to find new housing which passes government muster.
The judge told everyone to come back on Friday with information on where Reynolds would be living. But prosecutors quickly pointed out that there was the problem of tonight.
“Where does he intend to spend this evening and tomorrow?” asked assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas. “And if the location is not appropriate your honor?”
“Then there’s trouble!” said the judge. She told both sides she needed to know today, whether Reynolds had found someone to take him in which stayed outside the proscribed boundaries set out in the law.
"Have you found a place for him to live?" Kling was asked after court. "We're working on it." he said.
Reynolds was observed speaking on his cell phone across the lobby, and left without comment.
And that was the way things stood until the court's self-declared 11th hour. The former congressman and his attorney returned to the Dirksen courthouse at 3:30, informing the court that they had found a place for the congressman to sleep which met all of the rules. But only for tonight.
"This is a one night deal," he said, suggesting that his client is arranging something more permanent, which is not yet in place.
Reynolds is to describe that to the judge, on Friday.