Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, retired Tuesday amid sexual misconduct accusations coming from former staff members.
The 88-year-old Democrat coming from Detroit previously rejected calls coming from his party leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to step down after a half-century career on Capitol Hill.
“I’m within the process of putting my retirement plans together,” he told a Detroit radio show Tuesday morning coming from a hospital, where he was being treated for what his consultant has described as stress.
Later, he said: “I am retiring today.” Conyers endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him in Congress.
He later submitted a letter to Pelosi in addition to House Speaker Paul Ryan, which read: “I have made the decision to retire coming from my position as the Member of the United States House of Representatives coming from Michigan’s Thirteenth Congressional District effective today.”
Conyers was the longest-serving member of Congress. He first got elected in 1964.
On Monday, Elisa Grubbs, who said she worked in Conyers’ office coming from about 2001 to 2013, accused him of putting his hand up her skirt in addition to rubbing her thighs when they sat within the front row of a church, according to The Associated Press. She added which she saw the congressman inappropriately touching various other female staff members on “multiple occasions.”
Another accuser, Marion Brown, reached a confidential settlement with Conyers nevertheless broke a confidentiality agreement to speak publicly about her allegations.
Conyers denies having acted improperly. He previously stepped down coming from his role as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. The House Ethics Committee can be investigating the accusations.
Once Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder receives Conyers’ resignation, he has discretion about when to call special primary in addition to general elections to replace him, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Michigan secretary of state’s office. The winner might serve the remainder of Conyers’ term through January 2019.
In 2016, Conyers easily won the election to represent Michigan’s 13th District, which includes parts of Detroit in addition to its suburbs.
— The Associated Press contributed to which report