Tennessee House expels lawmaker over harassment allegations

Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, addresses the House in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, from the well of the camber to urge his colleagues not to expel him from the Tennessee General Assembly. The move to expel Durham follows an attorney general's investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Latest on a bid to oust a sitting Tennessee state legislator for the first time in 36 years. (all times local):
12:15 p.m. – The Tennessee House has voted to expel Republican state Rep. Jeremy Durham following allegations of widespread sexual harassment.

The chamber voted 70-2 on Tuesday to expel a sitting member for the first time in 36 years.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, addresses the House in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, from the well of the camber to urge his colleagues not to expel him from the Tennessee General Assembly. The move to expel Durham follows an attorney general's investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, addresses the House in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, from the well of the camber to urge his colleagues not to expel him from the Tennessee General Assembly. The move to expel Durham follows an attorney general’s investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

 

Durham lost his GOP primary last month after a state attorney general’s investigation detailed allegations that he had had improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office.

The chamber’s move to formally expel Durham was made in an effort to prevent the lawmaker from qualifying from lifetime pension payments once he reaches retirement age.

Durham attended the special legislative session. He argued in an eight-page letter to colleagues that he was innocent of all sexual harassment allegations and that he would not be given a chance to mount a defense.

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11:30 a.m. – Tennessee lawmakers are debating whether to oust a sitting member for the first time in 36 years.

The move to expel state Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin follows an attorney general’s investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office.

Durham attended the Tuesday session.

He took the well of the House to urge lawmakers not to remove him from office. He said it would set a dangerous precedent to oust him based on anonymous allegations.

The last member to be expelled from the General Assembly was then-Rep. Robert Fisher, who was ousted on a 92-1 vote in 1980. The Elizabethton Republican had been convicted of asking for a bribe to kill a bill.

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6:30 a.m. – Tennessee lawmakers are planning to vote on a bid to oust a sitting member for the first time in 36 years.

The move to expel state Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin follows an attorney general’s investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office.

Durham has denied the allegations and said in a letter to colleagues that he does not plan to attend the Tuesday proceedings because he doesn’t believe he will receive a fair hearing.

The last member to be expelled from the General Assembly was then-Rep. Robert Fisher, who was ousted on a 92-1 vote in 1980. The Elizabethton Republican had been convicted of asking for a bribe to kill a bill.

 

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