Nancy Pelosi: John Conyers deserves 'due process'

Conyers steps aside from top spot on Judiciary

The first effect since the discussion of sexual harassment in Congress began has come as Rep. John Conyers has stepped down from his position as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Melanie Sloan, a lawyer who worked with Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee, has also stepped forward to accuse Conyers of being "increasingly abusive" to her, behavior she says wasn't "sexual harassment" but "sexual discrimination".

But Conyers acknowledged maintaining the post would be a distraction "in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me".

Asked specifically if she believes the women accusing Conyers of misconduc t - who have not been identified in reporting by BuzzFeed News - Pelosi replied: "I do not know who they are". "I can not in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives".

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that there may be a close look at the 88-year-old MI lawmaker's status as the top member on the House Judiciary Committee. "Zero tolerance means consequences", she said later in the day on Sunday. "Just because someone was accused, and was it one accusation, was it two, I think there has to be―John Conyers is an icon in our country", Pelosi said, defending the 88-year-old representative.

"I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family", Conyers said.

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The wrongful dismissal complaint she filed in 2014 with Congress' Office of Compliance was settled for more than $27,000 and Conyers said his office resolved the allegations "with an express denial of liability".

The California Democrat noted that the House in the coming week will vote on requiring anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs.

Pelosi continued that she was confident Conyers would "do the right thing" as his case is reviewed, but stopped short of referencing resignation.

One of the loudest proponents of sexual harassment reform - Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) - called the Conyers' allegations "very serious".

Conyers holds a powerful position on Capitol Hill as ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, and Pelosi on Sunday defended what he has done as a longtime member of Congress.

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