Conyers Doesn’t Plan to Resign Over Harassment Claims, Lawyer Says


“If we are talking about resignation and resignation over allegations, then half the people in the House, half the people in the Senate, including the president of the United States of America, would have to step aside, step down and or resign,” Mr. Reed said.

Mr. Conyers, who has represented parts of the Detroit area in the House since 1965, this week confirmed the settlement of a wrongful termination complaint in 2015 from a staff member who had accused him of sexual harassment.

The settlement was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Monday. The publication also obtained affidavits from other staff members who said Mr. Conyers repeatedly harassed women working for him through actions that included requests for sexual acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Mr. Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands and rubbing their legs and backs in public.

Mr. Reed said Mr. Conyers settled the claim because the lawmaker did not want to be “involved in protracted litigation” based on “advice he received at the time.”

“It’s not a situation where Mr. Conyers has said that he did anything wrong, that he admitted guilt or acknowledged responsibility for any allegations,” Mr. Reed said.

Mr. Conyers has helped lead the Judiciary Committee for years, and some Democrats are eager to bring fresh blood into the committee’s top ranks for some time, three congressional officials said. He has already handed over much of the day-to-day committee work to staff aides and other Democratic members in recent years, and some have said that Mr. Conyers often appears disoriented.

On Wednesday, Mr. Reed indicated that the lawmaker was aware of those desires, saying that people with “their agenda” had wanted Mr. Conyers to “step aside for a long time and are looking for any and every opportunity that would arise and if they don’t arise, they create them.”

But Mr. Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus who also holds the venerated title of Dean of the House, does not appear to be wavering.


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“Naturally when you’re growing and you’re getting progressively older, up in age, you may not walk as fast as you used to walk,” Mr. Reed said. “At the end of the day, John Conyers can do his job, has been doing his job and will continue to do his job.”

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