Conyers Retires Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Endorses Son to Fill His Seat

Says his legacy 'can't be compromised'

December 5, 2017

Embattled Democratic Rep. John Conyers (Mich.) endorsed his son to run for his seat after announcing Tuesday that he is retiring from office amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from former staffers.

Conyers made the announcement during a phone interview with a local radio station's "Mildred Gaddis Show" on Tuesday morning from a Detroit hospital bed.

Gaddis said that even Conyers' critics could not doubt his legacy was phenomenal and asked whether the multiple allegations would impact the congressman's legacy of being a civil rights icon and supporting the Violence Against Women Act.

"Oh, absolutely not. My legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now," Conyers said. "This, too, shall pass. I want you to know that my legacy will through my children."

He went on to praise his family and endorse his oldest son, John Conyers III, to replace him in Congress.

"I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers, III, who incidentally I endorse to replace me in my seat in Congress, so we're all working together to make this country a better one," Conyers said. "To make a quality and justice more available for any, and with Dr. Martin Luther King, that's the issue that brought us in this thing together and we've been steadily moving forward and we're going to continue to do so."

He went on to say he was "retiring today" and he appreciated all the support he had received over the last five decades in office.

BuzzFeed reported last month that Conyers, 88, paid a former female staffer over $27,000 in 2015 to settle her complaint, which also required her to sign a confidentiality agreement. The report included multiple published affidavits of former staff members who said they witnessed Conyers touching female staffers in an inappropriate manner.

Conyers' Tuesday announcement differed from an earlier report from a relative, Michigan State Sen. Ian Conyers, who told the New York Times before the interview that the congressman would be announcing his decision not to seek reelection, but would serve out the remainder of his current term.