Calling Oliva Pope: Former Rep. Mel Reynolds Arrested in Zimbabwe

If convicted of pornography possession, the once-rising star could face up to two years in prison.

Posted: 02/18/2014 12:48 PM EST

Mel Reynolds is desperately in need of the rehabilitative services of the team headed by Scandal's Olivia Pope. The former Illinois congressman is being held in custody in Zimbabwe, Associated Press reports, for allegedly "possessing pornographic material and violating immigration laws."

Possession of pornography is a crime in Zimbabwe. Reynolds also reportedly owes thousands of dollars in unpaid hotel bills.

Scandal has dogged Reynolds since the early '90s. The Harvard graduate and once-rising star succeeded Rep. Gus Savage in Congress in 1992, after a House ethics investigation ruled that Savage had sexually harassed a female Peace Corps volunteer during a trip to Africa.

In 1995, Reynolds was forced to step down and imprisoned after being convicted of statutory rape, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. He was replaced by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is currently serving time in prison after pleading guilty of misusing $750,000 in campaign funds.

The Illinois Democrat, 62, has made two unsuccessful attempts to return to Congress. More recently, he's been working in Zimbabwe to attract financial investors for a multi-million-dollar construction project. According to the AP report, if convicted of the pornography charges, he could be sent to prison for up to two years or pay a big fine and be deported.

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(Photo: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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