Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers announced Sunday that he will step down from his top position on the House Committee on the Judiciary in the wake of allegations he sexually harassed and then paid off his accusers over several years.
“After careful consideration and 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 and on Twitter.
Conyers expressed reluctance at stepping down from his role as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and still denies all the allegations against him.
“To be clear, I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member,” Conyers said in a statement. “There is still much work to be done on core concerns like securing civil rights, enacting meaningful criminal justice reform, and protecting access to the ballot box.”
Conyers also said that the issues of criminal justice reform, civil rights and voting protections are all the more important under President Donald Trump, whose administration “cares little for the rule of law.”
These challenges could not be more pressing in the face of an Administration that cares little for the rule of law and a President whose actions and conduct cheapens our discourse every day.
— John Conyers, Jr. (@RepJohnConyers) November 26, 2017
Conyers admitted he paid a settlement to an accuser, but denied that he engaged in inappropriate behavior.
“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics,” Conyers said.
Buzzfeed News published a story of how Conyers’ office paid settlements to an accuser, including documents of the payments which were provided to the website from conservative figure Mike Cernovich. Buzzfeed says they verified the documents Cernovich provided and did not know whether Cernovich paid for the documents in question.
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