CHICAGO (CBS) — Second Congressional District candidate Mel Reynolds on Wednesday urged federal authorities to focus on gun violence in Chicago, instead of alleged financial misdealings by former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife.

Reynolds is one of several candidates vying to replace Jackson in Congress. He represented the 2nd District from 1993 until 1995, when he resigned in disgrace after his conviction for having sex with an underage campaign worker. He was also later convicted of bank fraud.

He said he should be judged on what he says and does now as he runs for office.

On Wednesday, Reynolds noted Chicago had 42 homicides in January – the most for that month since 2002.

“In a cold month? What does this say for the summer? What’s going to happen in April, May, June, July, August, September? What are we facing? Is this a prelude to the worst time we’ve ever had in the history of Chicago when it comes to gun violence?”

He said the answer is clear. He suggested the feds focus on Chicago’s violence, rather than alleged misuse of campaign funds by Jackson and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson.

“Why not take some of the money being spent investigating the Jacksons and bring the FBI and ATF to help put an end to the killing fields of Chicago?” Reynolds said.

He said something is terribly wrong when Chicagoans wake up to hear of another gun death and accept it as the new normal.

“The FBI should have been here by now, because the civil right to live freely of all the people in these killing fields are being violated, when they are trapped in their own homes for fear of becoming yet another victim,” he said.

Reynolds said black children are as afraid to walk the streets of Chicago as they were to walk the roads of Mississippi. He called violence a civil rights issue, which ought to be battled by the FBI in cooperation with the Chicago Police.

He said, instead of helping stem Chicago’s weekly tally of murder, the FBI has been leaking stories in an effort to convict Jesse Jackson Jr., and possibly his wife.

Reynolds said he has personal knowledge of this tactic, because federal teams tried to intimidate his wife Marisol into testifying against him.

He insisted he wasn’t speaking at the behest of the Jacksons. Reynolds said he’s never spoken to Sandi Jackson, and hasn’t spoken to Jesse Jr. since last week.

He also said he’s not against FBI efforts to prosecute Jesse Jr., but he said the feds have their priorities all wrong when they spend millions prosecuting the Jacksons, while children are shot to death weekly on Chicago streets.

Reynolds congratulated FBI Director Robert Mueller for the successful rescue of a 5-year-old boy named Ethan from the Alabama bunker of Jimme Lee Dykes this week, and suggested Mueller bring his expertise to Chicago to help stem the continuing wave of violence.

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