Manifesto or Media Handout?: A Release from Conyers' Lawyer Raises Eyebrows

Rep. John Conyers, an 88-year-old Detroit Democrat, digs in for a fight to keep the seat he first won in 1964. His 26 terms are the most of anyone now in Congress.

His Farmington Hills lawyer issues a defiant, defensive, partly off-topic statement that seems more like a manifesto than a media handout. It has odd punctuation, sentence fragments and no lower-case letters. (A scan is at the end of this post.)

One of the 18 sentences says:

"That his client will not be forced out of office based on the agenda of others, whatever that may be."

Arnold E. Reed: "Congressman Conyers has no plans to resign."

The rambling release also quotes attorney Arnold E. Reed as saying: "Congressman Conyers has always maintained his innocence in the face of these allegations" -- which just arose publicly this week.  

The second paragraph opens with five sentences of career highlights that would be apt at the veteran lawmaker's retirement tribute. They salute him as "a champion of equality and civil rights for more than fifty (50) years" and pay homage to his "positive work and impact."

Online reactions note what one post calls "the tone-deafness." A sampling:

  • "This is the weirdest press release I've ever read." -- Zack Pohl, communications director for the Michigan AFL-CIO
  • "All caps, grammar errors galore and the tone-deafness. . . . Not sure I’ve seen one weirder." -- Chris Gautz, former Crain's Detroit business reporter (now a public information officer for the state Department of Corrections)
  • "They ought to toss Conyers out for this awful statement. Defiant. No remorse. Blaming victims. Trashing colleagues. Far more shoes to drop for a statement with this tone." -- Joe DiSano, Lansing political consultant
  • "You'd think the Congressman would have better representation -- a lawyer who would know how to serve his client without complicating things. Too bad." -- Bill Noakes, Detroit attorney
  • "All of those accomplishments are well and good. However, if allegations are true, it trumps anything that he has done. #Resign" -- Eric Brown, Detroit human resources executive
  • "The lawyer sounds like a piece of work." -- Brian Gagne, ex-Detroiter living in Greenville, S.C.
  • "Anyone who uses all caps to make their argument stronger is an idiot." -- Robin Johnston, Bloomfield Hills 

Rep. John Conyers (Facebook photo)

Original article, Wednesday evening:

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, under fire for sexual harassment allegations, isn't quitting as some have suggested he do.

Attorney Arnold Reed tells CNN that Conyers, facing a House Ethics Committee investigation, is taking the allegations seriously but "is not going to resign. If everybody that was facing 'allegations' -- including the president, members of the House and Senate -- resigned, we'd have a lot of unemployed people walking around."

"At the end of the day, Mr. Conyers is not guilty of harassing these women who have come forward. It didn't happen," Reed says. 

Below is the lawyer's three-paragraph statement to the media, oddly written and formatted in all capital letters.

Twitter photo by New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor

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