Was the latest bombshell accussation against Rep. John Conyers enough to push his health over-the-edge?
After an accuser came public and detailed the Democratic congressman’s allegedly inappropriate behavior on Thursday, the liberal lawmaker’s family reported Conyers had been rushed to the hospital.
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Just hours later, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Conyers to resign his position as a Michigan congressman.
The latest came after a former aide publicly accused him of sexual harassment, telling NBC’s “Today” show that she was fired for rejecting advances from the longest-serving member of the U.S. House.
Marion Brown, 61, said the Democratic congressman propositioned her for sex multiple times over more than a decade. Brown initially told her story to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, saying she’d settled a complaint in 2015 with Conyers over the allegations, according to her attorney.
“It was sexual harassment … violating my body,” Brown said Thursday. “Propositioning me. Inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and then propositioning me … for sex.”
Conyers, meanwhile, was in a Detroit hospital, political consultant and family friend Sam Riddle said. Riddle said the information came from Conyers’ wife, Monica. He said he didn’t know Conyers’ medical condition or why he went to the hospital.
“We just pray for the congressman’s recovery,” Riddle said.
Brown broke a confidentiality agreement to tell her story to “Today,” saying she stayed on the job because she needed to support her family and found the work rewarding.
BuzzFeed News reported last week that Conyers had settled a complaint two years ago for $27,000 with a female staffer who alleged she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances. BuzzFeed didn’t disclose her name in its initial report and said the settlement was confidential.
Brown’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, confirmedafter the NBC interview aired that Brown was that former employee. She said Brown worked for Conyers in a variety of capacities from 2003 until 2014, mostly in the Detroit district office.
Brown said she was taking a risk by violating the confidentiality agreement. She said she spoke out to say she’s “not a liar” and to request an apology from Conyers. She said she reported some allegations to Conyers’ chief of staff in Detroit but nothing happened.
Some fellow Democrats are pushing Conyers to resign, but Detroit-area attorney Arnold Reed said Wednesday that Conyers is innocent and has no plans to step down. Anyone making inappropriate touching or other claims against the longest-serving member of the House should be prepared to back them up, he added.
“He’s going to fight these allegations tooth and nail if he has to with evidence, with documentation, witnesses, whatever he has to do,” Reed said. “And the accusers will have to prove up their case.”
BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they witnessed Conyers inappropriately touching female staffers or requesting sexual favors.
A former scheduler filed a complaint earlier this year, but later dropped it. And a third ex-staffer, Deanna Maher, said Tuesday that in 1997 Conyers undressed to his underwear in front of her and twice touched her leg inappropriately.
The House Ethics Committee is investigating Conyers, and Reed said he will cooperate with any investigation. Conyers announced Sunday that he would step aside as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Besides Pelosi, three other Democratic House members have publicly demanded Conyers resign: Kathleen Rice, Earl Blumenhauer and Pramila Jayapal.
Conyers is among several prominent men in politics, entertainment and journalism who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the wake of explosive allegations against former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein. On Wednesday, NBC’s “Today” host Matt Lauer and humorist and Garrison Keillor were fired for inappropriate conduct.
The Associated Press contributed to this article