Rep. John Conyers Jr. announced Sunday he was relinquishing his House committee position amid allegations he sexually harassed female staffers.
The announcement came shortly after House minority leader Nancy Pelosi repeatedly called on the Michigan Democrat to “do the right thing.” At the same time, she said he deserved due process.
Conyers, who has denied the allegations, said in a statement he was stepping down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while he faces an ethics investigation.
He said the investigation and the allegations are a distraction to the “important” work of the committee, which he noted handles civil rights cases and voters’ access to the ballot box.
Pelosi, of California, defended Conyers as an “icon” who had worked in defense of women over the years. Asked if she believed his accusers, she said it was up to the ethics committee to determine that.
“I believe he will do the right thing,” she told NBC News’s Meet the Press.
The news website BuzzFeed reported last week that Conyers’s office paid $27,000 to settle a complaint from a women in 2015 who said she was fired after rejecting the congressman’s sexual advances.