Embattled Michigan Rep. John Conyers announces retirement

Relative Rep. Conyers won't seek re-election due to health

Representative John Conyers Jr, who faces allegations that he sexually harassed former employees, announced on Tuesday (Dec 5) that he will leave Congress immediately, and he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

A cousin of a staffer who accused Rep. John Conyers of sexual harassment says the woman's claims are true - and the pol harassed her, too, an affidavit released Monday says.

But following the mounting allegations of sexual harassment, he has faced growing calls to resign from colleagues in the House, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier, Conyers' grand nephew, Michigan State Senator Ian Conyers, told the New York Times that he planned to run for the elder Conyers' seat.

Conyers, who was first elected in 1964 and went on to become a founding member in 1971 of the Congressional Black Caucus, easily won re-election previous year to his 27th term in the heavily Democratic district in and around Detroit.

But Conyers, who took his MI seat in 1965 and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, insisted that his record would not be tarnished by the accusations.

Word of Conyers' resignation was met with sadness among House Democrats, even though many had called on him to step down. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., one of Pelosi's top deputies in House Democratic leadership and the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, had also told Conyers he should resign, Politico reported.

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On Nov. 27, Pelosi said she had spoken to another woman, Melanie Sloan, a founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who had worked for Conyers and also came forward. The 88-year-old Democrat is the longest-serving current House member.

"Look, this goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics, which we're in", Conyers told host Mildred Gaddis. Conyers has repeatedly denied claims of sexual harrassment and misconduct by staffers. "We support the right to protect the constitutional rights of all involved". "I will have more on that soon".

Rep. John Conyers' attorney is expected to make an announcement later this morning.

When asked if Congress should disclose the details of settlements made by other lawmakers in cases of sexual misconduct or harassment, Conyers replied with "a strong, unequivocal yes". Another woman alleges she was sacked by Conyers after she rejected his advances and subsequently settled a wrongful dismissal claim with the congressman.

"I think that we lose our moral authority if we also don't call out those we love who have done things that are bad", said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

Buzzfeed News reported on November 20 that Conyers had settled a complaint in 2015 from a woman who alleged she was sacked from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances. He will now be leaving the seat he's held since 1965.