Arnold Reed, the attorney representing Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), told reporters that Conyers will not be pressured by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to resign over several allegations of sexual misconduct.
“It is not up to Nancy Pelosi,” Reed told reporters at a press conference in Michigan. “She sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave.”
Reed also said that Pelosi should have to explain why she has called on Conyers to step down but has not said that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who also faces sexual misconduct allegations, should resign.
Pelosi publicly called on Conyers to resign Thursday morning, telling reporters that the allegations from several women are “credible” and “serious.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also said Thursday that Conyers should step down.
Reed said that Conyers will make any decisions himself and that a decision would not come on Thursday or Friday.
Conyers faces allegations of sexual misconduct from several former female staffers.
BuzzFeed News first reported last week that Conyers paid a settlement to a former staffer who said she was fired for refusing the congressman’s sexual advances. Since then, another former staffer said Conyers walked into her hotel room and undressed. She also said the congressman inappropriately touched her on two other occasions. Another woman alleged she was invited to Conyers office, to find him dressed only in his underwear.
Reed confirmed that Conyers was in the hospital, as had been reported earlier Thursday, and said that the congressman was focused on his health, rather than a decision about his political future. He said that Conyers was experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. Asked if Conyers’ symptoms were cause by stress stemming from the allegations, Reed said he “would be surprised” if stress was not the cause.
Conyers’ lawyer also tried to undermine the credibility of one of the women who has accused the congressman of misconduct. Reed questioned why Marion Brown, who settled a claim with Conyers and came forward publicly Thursday morning, remained as a Conyers staffer while enduring sexual harassment. He said it was “incongruous” for Brown to claim that she suffered from sexual harassment even though she remained in the job and accepted a settlement for Conyers’ alleged behavior.
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