(JTA) — With Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announcing he will step down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., will assume the powerful post.
Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, announced his decision Sunday amid a congressional investigation Congress of sexual harassment and workplace abuse allegations against him by his former staffers. He has denied the allegations.
Nadler said in a statement that he would continue Conyers’ “critical work.”
“Even under these unfortunate circumstances, the important work of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee must move forward,” Nadler, who is Jewish, said in the statement. “I will do everything in my power to continue to press on the important issues facing our committee, including criminal justice reform, workplace equality, and holding the Trump Administration accountable. Ranking Member Conyers has a 50-year legacy of advancing the cause of justice, and my job moving forward is to continue that critical work.”
Conyers, who has been a member of the House since 1965, said in his announcement earlier Sunday that he expected to disprove the allegations against him.
“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” he said in a statement. “I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
Buzzfeed reported last week that Conyers in 2015 settled a wrongful dismissal complaint with an ex-employee who said she was sexually harassed. The woman alleged that she had been fired because she rebuffed Conyers’ sexual advances.