Mel Reynolds says he’ll plead not guilty to tax charges

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Congressman Mel Reynolds says he will plead not guilty to federal charges he failed to file income tax returns from 2009 to 2012.

In news conference Wednesday, a day before he is to be arraigned on tax charges, Reynolds said going to trial will “set the record straight.”

Reynolds claims the majority of the money the government claims he didn’t pay taxes on was expense money given him by Chicago businessman Elzie Higginbottom to find business opportunities in Africa. He also said Higginbottom donated money to pay for his children’s schooling.

Higginbottom did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Reynolds resigned from the 2nd Congressional District seat in 1995 after he was convicted in state court of statutory rape. He later was convicted in federal court on financial charges.