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Conyers says he's resigning to preserve legacy

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DETROIT (AP) - Rep. John Conyers says he's resigning from Congress "to preserve (his) legacy and good name."
    
Conyers said in a statement Tuesday that he's not being afforded "due process" to defend himself against sexual harassment allegations made by former staff members. He's also citing his "current health conditions" as a factor in his decision to step down.
    
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, read the statement from the 88-year-old Conyers on the floor of the House. She served with Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee.
    
Conyers says he's been a champion for the oppressed and the disenfranchised, and that he "never wavered in (his) commitment to justice and democracy."
    
Conyers says he hopes his retirement will be viewed in the "larger perspective" of his more than 50 years as a lawmaker.
    
PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:
    
12:05 p.m.
    
A congresswoman says she struggled with her decision to call for Rep. John Conyers to resign because of the important role he played in the civil rights movement.
    
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said Tuesday that she came to Congress after being a civil rights activist and that "none of the work" she did on immigrant rights issues would have been possible without Conyers' leadership.
    
Jayapal said last week that Conyers should resign following allegations by former staffers accusing him of sexual harassment. He announced his retirement Tuesday. Jayapal says Democrats will "lose our moral authority if we also don't call out those we love who have done things that are bad."
    
Jayapal says she also thinks Roy Moore, of Alabama, should drop out of the Senate race in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers.
    
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11:35 a.m.
    
A top House Democrat says word of 27-term Michigan Rep. John Conyers' retirement is a "sad end to a long career."
    
Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California said Tuesday that people shouldn't forget Conyers' notable accomplishments in civil rights and other issues.
    
Conyers was the first African-American to chair the Judiciary Committee and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. He sponsored legislation to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a holiday and pushed for Rosa Parks to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda after her death.
    
The 88-year-old Conyers announced his retirement Tuesday amid allegations of sexual misconduct by former staffers.
    
___
    
11:15 a.m.
    
The congressman who replaced Rep. John Conyers as acting Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee says he is saddened by news of Conyers' retirement.
    
Conyers has been beset by allegations of sexual harassment in recent weeks and has come under increasing pressure from House colleagues to resign.
    
Calling Conyers a "friend and mentor," Rep. Jerrold Nadler said in a statement that "there is no doubt that these allegations have taken a tremendous toll on him personally, as well as on his family and on everyone that knows him."
    
But Nadler continues: "With that said, there can be no tolerance for behavior that subjects women to the kind of conduct that has been alleged."
    
___
    
11:10 a.m.
    
The attorney for one of the women who have accused U.S. Rep. John Conyers of sexual harassment says the issue is "about much more than one congressman."
    
Lisa Bloom told The Associated Press in an email following Conyers' retirement announcement Tuesday that "systemic change is urgently needed so no other women have to endure the retaliation, secrecy and delays" that her client and others have experienced.
    
Marion Brown has said that she settled a complaint in 2015 that alleged she was fired because she rejected Conyers' sexual advances. She was paid more than $27,000 by Conyers' office in the confidential settlement.
    
The House Ethics Committee is investigating the allegations by Brown and other women who worked for Conyers.
    
The 88-year-old Conyers first was elected in 1964.
    
___
    
10:40 a.m.
    
The House Ethics Committee will likely continue to investigate Rep. John Conyers, even though the veteran Democrat has announced he plans to retire.
    
The ethics panel retains jurisdiction over Conyers as long as the 27-term Democrat remains in Congress, and a senior legislative aide says the normal course would be for the ethics inquiry to continue.
    
The aide spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the individual wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly.
    
Lisa Bloom, an attorney for one of Conyers's accusers, says her client, Marion Brown, "is ready, willing and able to testify as to her sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Conyers."
    
Brown reached a confidential settlement with Conyers over sexual harassment allegations, but broke the confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.
___
    
10:20 a.m.
    
Rep. John Conyers, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by former female staffers, says he is retiring.
    
Conyers told "The Mildred Gaddis Show" on WPZR-FM Tuesday that this will be his final two-year term. The 88-year-old Democrat says he is endorsing his son to take his seat in Congress.
    
Ian Conyers, the grandson of John Conyers' brother, earlier said his great-uncle would not run for re-election and that he would run for his seat in Washington, D.C.
    
Conyers, who was first elected in 1964, easily won re-election last year in the heavily Democratic 13th District.
    
The House Ethics Committee has been reviewing multiple harassment allegations against Conyers.
    
Among Conyers' accusers, Marion Brown says he repeatedly propositioned her for sex during more than a decade working for him. Elisa Grubbs, another former staffer, says he slid his hand up her skirt in church.
    
___
    
7 a.m.
    
A relative of John Conyers says the longest-serving current U.S. House member won't seek re-election amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members.
    
Michigan state Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of John Conyers' brother, told The New York Times early Tuesday that the decision comes after the 88-year-old Democrat's doctor "advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him, just in terms of his health."
    
Ian Conyers told the newspaper that his great-uncle "is not resigning. He is going to retire." The report didn't specify how Ian Conyers knew of the congressman's plans.
    
The Associated Press left the younger Conyers a message Tuesday.
    
John Conyers' attorney Arnold Reed has said the congressman plans to speak on a Detroit radio show Tuesday morning about his political future.
    
___
    
12:25 a.m.
    
A woman who says she worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers for more than a decade says he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.
    
Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who previously broke a confidentiality agreement to speak publicly.
    
Grubbs came forward as Conyers is expected to speak on a Detroit radio show Tuesday about his future. The 88-year-old Democrat is the longest-serving current House member.
    
Conyers' attorney Arnold Reed told the Detroit Free Press Grubbs' allegations are "another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein's attorney." Bloom previously represented Hollywood executive Weinstein.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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