Politics

Conyers Status: Up in the Air

Michigan Democrat's attorney says congressman has no reason to apologize

Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. was not in a position to make a statement himself about the allegations against him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The fate of Rep. John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat under fire for sexual misconduct allegations, won't be determined for a few more days, at least according to his attorney. 

Arnold E. Reed said he will meet with the congressman in the coming days to decide his political future. “It will be Congressman John Conyers who will decide what he is going to do in terms of whether he will continue to represent the people,” Reed said.

Reed said Conyers’s health “is not the best” and the timing of their conversation and the decision on whether Conyers will resign will be made once he’s regained his strength.

“Because of the congressman’s health I do not want to disturb him,” he said. “I want him to get well and get to the point where is ready.”

Reed couldn’t provide an exact description of Conyer’s health status and whether his illness resulted from the stress of the situation he’s in, saying he needs to speak with doctors for an update.

Since 7 a.m. Thursday Conyers had been undergoing medical tests, which led the doctors to want to conduct more tests, the results of which will determine when Conyers is health enough to have a conversation about his political future, Reed said.

 

Reed also reiterated on Friday that the congressman is still proclaiming his innocence, saying, “He has not sexually harassed anyone.”

“He will continue to defend himself until the cows come home,” Reed said.

“There are many witnesses that will testify in favor of the congressman if it comes to it,” Reed said, possibly alluding to a former Conyers staffer who said he'd vouch for him

“There is a lot of pressure that has come to bear from Democrats on the congressman,” Reed said. “In fact they’ve talked about expulsion. … But the congressman is not going to be pressured by any of that.”

House Democratic leaders, from Nancy Pelosi on down the line, have called on Conyers to resign in the last few days. Pelosi, Leaders Call on Conyers to Quit

Reed said he’s talked to some of Conyer’s House colleagues as recently as last night but declined to name them. He did say he has not spoken with Pelosi.

Much of the news conference was spent on Reed trying to discredit former Conyers staffer Marion Brown, who accused Conyers of violating her body and frequently propositioning her for sex.

Brown’s daughter worked in Conyers’s office in 2009 and/or 2010, Reed said, questioning why she’d let her daughter work there if she had concerns about Conyers or the office work environment.

“When you bring your daughter into a situation that you describe that is completely hell, again, it is fundamentally incongruous with anything that resembles logic and truth,” he said.

Reed also spoke briefly about Sloan another former staffer who has come forward with complaints against Conyers, saying she never said the congressman sexually harassed her. Sloan was in Conyers’s office a few months ago talking and joking with the congressman and offering to testify for him on an unrelated mater, Reed said.

Reed said he last spoke with Conyers “a couple of days ago” and they had discussed the topic of whether he’d resign “a little bit” before he went into the hospital.

“But we reached nothing definitive,” he said. “No decision has been made at this juncture.”

“If the congressman hasn’t done anything wrong, and he’s maintaining that, I don’t see why he should apologize,” Reed said.

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