Longest-serving USA congressman quits after sex harassment claims

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U.S. Rep. John Conyers - beset with allegations of sexual harassment by former staff members - announced Tuesday that he is retiring.

Last week, Marion Brown, a woman with whom Conyers had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2005, appeared on NBC's "Today" show and said Conyers had "violated" her body, propositioned her for sex and touched her inappropriately. Conyers, who said only that he was retiring Tuesday, but not resigning, denied any wrongdoing in the interview and endorsed his son to replace him in the House.

Conyers' endorsement of his son's candidacy is made even more complicated by the fact that Conyers' grand-nephew, MI state Senator Ian Conyers, 29, also recently announced he will be running for Conyers' seat.

Elisa Grubbs, who says she worked for Conyers (D-Mich.) from 2001 to 2013, released the statement through lawyer Lisa Bloom on Twitter.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee took to the House floor to read a letter by Conyers to his colleagues, saying he notified House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi that he was vacating his seat.

Days later, the congressman stepped down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee during a congressional ethics probe of the sexual harassment allegations.

"My legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now".

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Grubbs also said she repeatedly saw Conyers touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of other female staffers.

"We are here for due process", said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP. Such behavior "was a regular part of life while working in the office of Rep. Conyers", she said.

Wounded by the mounting accusations, and well aware of the potential implications for Democrats' efforts to win congressional seats in next year's mid-term elections, the party's congressional leadership last week called for Conyers to resign.

Ian Conyers did not go into detail with the Times on the allegations against his family member, but said he would stand with him.

Attorney Arnold Reed speaks with the media outside Democratic Congressman John Conyers home in Detroit, Michigan, on December 1, 2017.

"We're calling on the moral core of this nation to not treat us any different than anyone else", said Gay-Dagnogo, who organized Monday's rally and was joined by at least five other Michigan Black Legislative Caucus members in backing due process for the congressman. "They are not true and I think they are something that I can't explain where they came from".

The 88-year-old congressman is facing several sexual harassment allegations from former staff members.

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