CHICAGO — The key witness in the sexual assault trial of Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.) was held in contempt of court and jailed Wednesday after she refused to answer questions about her early relationship with him.
Beverly Heard, 19, who last summer accused Reynolds, 43, of initiating a sexual relationship with her when she was 16, attempted to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Her lawyer told Cook County Circuit Judge Fred Suria Jr. that because Heard has since recanted her grand jury allegations she feared she could be charged with perjury or obstruction of justice.
But Suria ruled that the questions posed to Heard on Wednesday involved no such risk. He ordered her to return to court today.
Reynolds, a married father of three, is on trial for criminal sexual assault, solicitation of child pornography and obstruction of justice.