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(NEW YORK POST) – Democratic Rep. John Conyers, under intense pressure to step down after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, announced from his hospital bed that he was resigning and endorsed his son to replace him in Congress.
“I am retiring today,” the 88-year-old Conyers told the “Mildred Gaddis Show” on Tuesday, just two weeks after the first accusations surfaced. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more on that soon.”
Later, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) read a statement on the House floor that Conyers was retiring immediately and has informed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Conyers, who has stepped down from his position as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said his legacy will continue through his children.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now. This too shall pass,” Conyers told the Detroit radio show, adding that his oldest son, John Conyers III, will run for the seat he has held since 1965.
“We’re all working together to make this country a better one, to make equality and justice more available” for everyone, he said.
The elder Conyers, who has been hospitalized in Detroit for stress-related issues, also said he and his family are taking the sexual allegations “in stride.”
“This goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics, which we’re in,” he said.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, is required by law to call a special election to fill out the remainder of Conyer’s term – which ends Jan. 3, 2019, the Detroit Free Press reported.
But Conyer’s endorsement of his son sets up a contest with another relative, Ian Conyers, the grandson of the congressman’s brother.
Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator, told the New York Times that he would also run for the seat representing an area of Detroit.
He said he had planned to run for re-election to the statehouse, but would abandon that for a shot at Congress.
“I’m absolutely going to file for his seat. The work of our congressional district, where I come out of, has to continue,” he told the newspaper. “We have got to have someone who has depth and experience but also historical understanding of what it takes to fight this type of evil in Washington.”
Ian Conyers, 29, said he believes he can overcome the swirling allegations because voters value the public service of his family.
“People are ready to support our dean and to support our family as we continue to fight, as we have for leading up to a century, for people from southeast Michigan,” he said.
Last week, the House Ethics Committee announced it would begin investigating Conyers’ behavior after several former staff members accused him of sexual harassment.
He is also accused of using $27,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a lawsuit brought by Marion Brown, a former staffer.
Meanwhile, another woman came forward Monday to say Conyers groped her while they sat in a church.
Elisa Grubbs, who said she worked for Conyers at different times between 2001 and 2013, alleged through her lawyer Lisa Bloom that he ran his hand up her skirt and rubbed her legs.
“I stand with my uncle in terms of his belief of no specific wrongdoing,” Ian Conyers told the Times. “However, those things need to have their day in court.”
A number of congressional lawmakers have been accused of sexual wrongdoing, including Reps. Joe Barton and Blake Farenthold, both Texas Republicans, and Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat.
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