Rep. Conyers steps aside as top Democrat on House Judiciary Committee amid sexual harassment allegations

U.S. Rep John Conyers, D- Detroit, announces his plans for re-election at Redford Jaycees Hall in Redford, Mich., Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Conyers declared his candidacy for a 27th consecutive term in Congress, Monday, saying he wants to continue pressing for employment opportunities and universal health care coverage. (Clarence Tabb Jr./ Detroit News via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) —  Michigan Rep. John Conyers says he is stepping aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid a congressional investigation into allegations he sexually harassed female staff members.

In a statement Sunday, the 88-year-old Conyers says he denies the allegations and would like to keep his leadership role on the panel. But he says he “cannot in good conscience” allow the charges to be an undue distraction to his House colleagues while the investigation is continuing.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Conyers after receiving allegations of sexual harassment and age discrimination involving staff members as well as using “official resources for impermissible personal purposes.”

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