Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stepped down from his role as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amidst reports that he settled with a former staff member over sexual harassment allegations, according to Fox News.
Following the initial report, Conyers was hit with several more accusations last week, all of which he has vehemently denied.
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“In light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic leader of my request to step aside as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” Conyers said in a statement.
“I deny [all of] these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” Conyers, the long-serving active House member, also said in his statement Sunday. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family.”
He also said he wanted to remain the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee “but I have come to believe that my presence as ranking member … would not serve these efforts while the Ethics Committee investigation is pending. I cannot in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus.”
The House Ethics committee announced that it had launched an investigation into Conyers’ office the day after it was revealed he’d paid a former staff member roughly $27K under a nondisclosure agreement when she’d been fired for refusing his sexual advances.
After this initial allegation, a lawyer named Melanie Sloan who worked with the House Judiciary Committee said she’d once been called into Conyers’ office to find him “walking around in his underwear.”