Conyers announces retirement amid sexual harassment allegations: 'My legacy can't be compromised'

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Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from Congress on Tuesday after a almost 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation's workplaces.

John Conyers told a Detroit area radio show that he'll step down from his seat in Congress Tuesday and publicly endorsed his son to replace him once he leaves Capitol Hill.

"The important thing is he'll be there", Reed said of Conyers, who has been hospitalized since the middle of last week with unknown symptoms believed to be related to stress.

The revelations against Conyers came amid a flurry of allegations of sexual misconduct against several of his colleagues in both the House and Senate, including Reps.

"I am retiring today", Conyers, 88, told a Detroit radio station, as he became the first to step down among four serving U.S. lawmakers facing sexual misconduct allegations.

Conyers was first elected to the House in 1964. He is married to Monica Conyers who pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiracy to commit bribery as a member of the Detroit City Council.

"It is apparent that if we're going to raise this unholy and unlawful guillotine, calling for the head of John Conyers, then in fairness we must begin with the president of the United States". He has already stepped aside from his position as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The House Ethics Committee last week opened an investigation into Conyers, 88, after he said his office had resolved a harassment case of a former staffer with a payment but no admission of guilt. A lawyer for Conyers has repeatedly said the congressman denied wrongdoing and had no plans to resign, despite more calls from members of his own party.

Following these accusations, House minority leader Nanci Pelosi eventually asked Conyers to step down, as did Rep. James E. Clyburn.

If Conyers were to resign, it would help Democrats quiet demands that some action be taken against him.

Giving up his spot on the committee was a move that a senior Democratic aide said Pelosi helped orchestrate.

"His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health", Ian Conyers said.

After a 15-year struggle, Conyers succeeded in establishing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a federal holiday in 1986. When Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., resigned in March 2010 amid allegations that he had groped and tickled male staffers, Gov. David Paterson, D, put the replacement election on the November ballot. It featured about a dozen speakers and lasted a little more than an hour.

Conyers became an icon during the civil rights movement. His candidacy was first reported by the New York Times.

Conyers has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct. As you know his health is not the best.

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