Embattled Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) announced his immediate retirement on Tuesday in the wake of multiple sexual harassment allegations that surfaced last month, endorsing his son John Conyers III to fill the vacant seat in Congress.
“I am in the process of putting my retirement plans together. I am retiring today,” Conyers told Detroit radio talk show host Mildred Gaddis. “I want everyone to know how much I appreciate people’s support.”
Conyers, 88, made the announcement from a hospital, where he was reportedly taken last week for treatment of stress-related illnesses, ABC 7 reported. He had already stepped down from his post as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The first allegations against Conyers went public on November 20, accusing the longtime lawmaker of pestering female employees for sex and making unwanted physical contact with them. Conyers vehemently denied those allegations but admitted to settling a wrongful termination claim from a staffer who was fired in 2015 “with an express denial of liability.”
Several more accusers came forward in the following two weeks. The latest allegations surfaced on Monday, when Elise Grubbs – a cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown – said that Conyers once fondled her at a place of worship.
“Rep. Conyers slid his hand up my skirt and rubbed my thighs while I was sitting next to him in the front row of a church,” she said in an affidavit released on Monday by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. “I was startled and sprang to my feet and exclaimed, ‘He just ran his hand up my thigh!’ Other staffers witnessed the event.”
Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reed, blasted the allegation as “another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein’s attorney.”