Conyers steps aside from top spot on Judiciary Committee
(WJBK) - Michigan Rep. John Conyers says he is stepping aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid a congressional investigation into allegations he sexually harassed female staff members.
In a statement Sunday, Conyers says he denies the allegations and would like to keep his leadership role on the panel. But he says he "cannot in good conscience" allow the charges to be an undue distraction to his House colleagues while the investigation is continuing.
The 88-year-old lawmaker indicated he would not resign from Congress and would keep fighting the allegations first made public a week ago that he sexually harassed female staff members.
His sudden announcement came as a scandal-weary Congress prepared to return from its Thanksgiving break, with increasing attention on the issue of sexual misconduct involving multiple men in entertainment, media and politics. Along with Conyers, Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore also are the subject of accusations.
FOX 2's Charlie Langton and Erika Erickson talked about the allegations Sunday on Let It Rip Weekend with Conyers's attorney Arnold Reed, who said Conyers should determine what would best serve his constituents.
The House Ethics Committee is investigating Conyers after receiving allegations of sexual harassment and age discrimination involving staff members as well as using "official resources for impermissible personal purposes."
The statement was made in a series of tweets which read in full:
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is defending Democratic Rep. John Conyers as an "icon" for women's rights and declining to say whether the longtime lawmaker should resign over allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members.
Pelosi insists that Conyers deserves "due process" and will "do the right thing" after Congress returns from Thanksgiving break on Monday.
Still, she called the accusations against Conyers a "big distraction."