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Rep. John Conyers Steps Down From Judiciary Committee Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

27 November, 2017, 01:58 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Rep. John Conyers is the subject of a congressional investigation into sexual assault allegations. Associated Press files

Democrat John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the US Congress and an iconic civil rights leader, said Sunday he is stepping down from a leadership position as he battles allegations of sexual harassment.

Jerrold Nadler of NY, the second-ranking Democrat on the judiciary committee, said in a statement: "Conyers has a 50-year legacy of advancing the cause of justice, and my job moving forward is to continue that critical work".

Conyers said he denies the accusations and "very much" looks forward to "vindicating" himself before the House Ethics Committee, which announced last week that it was opening an investigation into the accusations against Conyers. "But I have come to believe that my presence as ranking member on the committee would not serve these efforts while the ethics committee investigation is pending".

"I don't know who they are", she said.

Denying the allegations, Conyers urged members of Congress to allow "due process" before rendering a judgment.

Conyers' office recently confirmed issuing a settlement of $27,000 to a former staffer who says she was sacked for resisting the congressman's sexual advances. The House Committee on Ethics has launched an investigation into the matter. "Basic fairness requires no less". "Is it two? I think there has to be - John Conyers is an icon in our country", she told host Chuck Todd, pointing out that the congressman has "done a great deal to protect women".

The 88-year-old lawmaker indicates that he will not resign from Congress and will keep fighting the allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members. When asked if she believes the accusers, Pelosi replied, "I don't know who they are".

In a statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she welcomed Conyers' decision to step down from his committee leadership post. "Zero tolerance means consequences", she said later in the day on Sunday.

The Michigan representative, she said, would "do the right thing". She dropped the complaint after the court refused to leave it sealed. "Any credible accusation must be reviewed by the Ethics Committee expeditiously", Ms Pelosi said. Al Franken, D-Minn., is also facing allegations that he touched women inappropriately.

"We have made progress, but unfortunately 26 years ago, Washington wasn't ready to lead on this issue, and I'm afraid even today Washington can not lead the country on this issue", she said.

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