Zealous prosecutor finds congressman to hound


Mel Reynolds was on the phone, which I found slightly surprising. By now, I'd have expected him to have developed a phone phobia.

He sounded highly indignant. That's the way he usually sounds when he calls. And, in truth, I prefer his indignation to other conversational phone styles for which he has become renowned.

He was upset because Beverly Heard had just been marched off to jail for refusing to talk -- either naughty or nice -- about her allegedly kinky relationship with the Democratic congressman.

"Did you see it?" Reynolds said. "They locked up their victim. This is the very same prosecutor who got on TV and said this case was about the victim, that they had to protect the victim, that he was so concerned about the victim. Then he locks her up. It's nuts.

"They knew in January that she was not going to say what they wanted. So now they lock her up? They put her in jail with people who have committed serious crimes, with murderers. This is their alleged victim, the person they're so worried about, and they put handcuffs on her.

"They've got her in jail, and I'm convinced they [the prosecutors] are going to try to talk to her. That's why they wanted her locked up.

"So if they get to her and she comes out and says I did everything to her, then what? Either she's facing contempt or perjury. It's crazy."

Uh, Mel, but what about that rather spicy taped phone conversation?

"Obviously, it is quite embarrassing, getting ensnarled in a conversation that is taped. But did you see the jury? They were laughing. Apparently they don't think it's so serious. One woman there, she's almost 70 years old, she was sitting there laughing.

"And Beverly's voice? It's the most affected, sexy voice you've ever heard. She sounds like one of those numbers for phone sex."

And how is the wife taking all of this?

"Marisol, she's very angry. They want her to fall; they want her to be upset. They want to say, 'Look, she's deserting him.' But she gets up every morning, gets dressed, comes to court with me for the 15 minutes before it starts, then she gets back in the car and goes home.

"She can't be in the courtroom [because she is a possible witness] but she said to me, 'If I don't come, then the story will be that she's deserting him after the tapes were played.' "

Reynolds finally paused for a few moments, then ended the chat by saying: "It is incredible."

Yes, it is a strange case.

So far, all we know for sure is that Reynolds and a young woman engaged in some erotic phone talk.

That isn't what Alexander Graham Bell had in mind for his invention, but if everybody who talks dirty on the phone was in jail, we'd be free of rush-hour traffic.

Of course, the more serious accusation is that he frequently played bouncy-bed with Beverly Heard when she was only 16.

If so, that is not gentlemanly behavior. But, then, it isn't uncommon in the city of Chicago. As the teen-age birth rate tells us, it happens thousands and thousands of times each year.

It is the good fortune of most of the male participants in these illegal acts that they are not black Democratic congressmen. So they don't attract the zealous attention of a white, suburban-bred, politically ambitious Republican state's attorney.

Jack O'Malley is so enthusiastic about this case that he pursued the matter even though Ms. Heard -- so chatty on the phone -- has decided to clam up in court.

But the way O'Malley sees it, he is doing his duty because he says that Reynolds somehow persuaded Ms. Heard to recant. And that is obstruction of justice, a serious crime.

O'Malley may be right. On the other hand, if Ms. Heard, now a worldly age 19, says she isn't mad at Reynolds for whatever he did or didn't do to her, and if Reynolds' wife hasn't kicked him out of the house for being such a silly rascal, why should O'Malley be cluck-clucking and tsk-tsking all over the courthouse?

I'm not in favor of anyone's obstructing justice. But I can understand why any married guy would say to a tattle-tale bimbo: "What, are you nuts, trying to ruin my life? And my wife'll kill me."

Actually, this case would be kind of funny if it weren't for the fact that Reynolds, if found guilty of everything O'Malley has dumped on him, could go to prison for almost an entire century.

If O'Malley can pull that off, he will have truly established himself as one real hard-nosed prosecutor.

Why, just imagine what he might do to someone who snatches a purse.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad