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Rep. John Conyers steps aside as top Democrat on House Judiciary Committee amid probe of sexual harassment allegations

By in Press Enterprise on November 26, 2017

By The New York Times

By YAMICHE ALCINDOR and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — Michigan Representative John Conyers Jr., the House’s longest-serving lawmaker, is stepping aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed former aides.

“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me,” Mr. Conyers said in a statement on Sunday, he is stepping aside on the Judiciary panel “during the investigation of these matters.”

The announcement came five days after the revelation that Mr. Conyers, a Democrat, had settled a complaint in 2015 by a former employee who had said she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances. The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the matter.

“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” Mr. Conyers said in the statement. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”

The news of the settlement was first reported by BuzzFeed News, which said it received documents about the case from Mike Cernovich, a right-wing online commentator. BuzzFeed has reported that a second woman has also accused Mr. Conyers of sexual harassment.

Mr. Conyers said in his statement that he would “like very much to remain as ranking member,” but had “come to believe that my presence as ranking member on the committee would not serve these efforts while the Ethics Committee investigation is pending.”

His lawyer, Arnold E. Reed, said in an interview on Wednesday that Mr. Conyers, 88, denied any wrongdoing and believed that some of those suggesting that he step down, including fellow Democrats, had been scheming for years to push him out of his Judiciary post.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, suggested in a statement that she […]    

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