Sex scandal-hit US lawmaker hospitalized for stress: report

Chicago (AFP) –


Democratic lawmaker John Conyers, facing mounting pressure to resign over allegations of sexual harassment and an alleged payoff to cover up his actions, has been hospitalized for stress, US media reported Thursday.

The 88-year-old representative from Michigan, the longest-serving member of the Congress, was being treated at a Detroit-area hospital, according to friend and political consultant Sam Riddle, who spoke with reporters outside Conyers' home.

"(Conyers is under) tremendous stress due to media hounding, and political vultures and serial accusers," The Detroit News quoted Riddle as saying. "That type of stress would affect anybody."

Conyers is one of several prominent US lawmakers facing allegations of sexual misconduct, as a wave of disclosures has felled prominent figures in media, entertainment and politics in the wake of the accusations targeting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Both he and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota -- a fellow Democrat who is accused of touching and kissing several women without their consent -- are under pressure to step down.

In the Republican camp, the Alabama candidate for the US Senate Roy Moore -- accused of harassing and molesting several teenage girls -- has faced calls from prominent members of his own party to drop out, although he continues to enjoy the support of President Donald Trump.

Conyers' Detroit office could not confirm his hospitalization or his whereabouts Thursday morning, but his lawyer Arnold Reed told CBS News that he had checked into a hospital Wednesday night.

Multiple women have accused Conyers of sexual harassment.

Accuser Marion Brown, a former staffer under Conyers, appeared on the NBC "Today" show Thursday morning saying Conyers had asked her in 2015 to "sexually satisfy him."

"He just violated my body, he has touched me in different ways and it was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional," said Brown, who says she reached a settlement with Conyers that included a non-disclosure agreement -- but decided to speak out regardless.

BuzzFeed News -- which reported on the Brown settlement earlier this month without revealing her name -- said Conyers had paid her $27,000.

Even while denying the allegations, Conyers has stepped down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. He is, however, keeping his seat in Congress.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating the allegations.