Former congressman Mel Reynolds says he will no longer plead guilty in the misdemeanor federal tax charges he faces, saying "sorry for the confusion."
Last week, Reynolds said he wanted to plead guilty to the charges because he was unable to prepare his case due to health issues and his placement in solitary confinement. At the time, Reynolds, who is representing himself, said he is isolated from the general prison population due to death threats connected to the ex-politician's previous work against a gang leader.
Due to the solitary confinement, Reynolds alleged that he did not have access to a computer and the other tools needed to prepare his defense, saying he has "no other choice" than to plead guilty. Upon hearing his claims, legal analysts said the argument could lead the judge to decide against his change-of-plea request because defendants cannot change their pleas under duress. Meanwhile, prosecutors argue that Reynolds has access to computers, the jail library and other tools he would need to prepare his legal defense.
Reynolds now says he wishes to be released to a halfway house in Chicago where he can prep for his trial, which is scheduled for June 20. A status hearing is slated for Thursday.