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A longtime family friend said Thursday that U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the 88-year-old Detroit Democrat who has been accused of sexual harassment by former staffers, has been hospitalized for “tremendous stress.”

With news media assembled outside of his home and with allegations of sexual misconduct mounting, political consultant Sam Riddle said “(Conyers is under) tremendous stress due to media hounding and political vultures and serial accusers.

“That type of stress would affect anybody.”

Riddle told The Detroit News in a phone interview that what he knew came via Conyers' wife, Monica.

Riddle called the women who made accusations against Conyers “serial abusers” trying to take down a man whose political career stretches back a half-century. He said it wouldn't work.

“In Detroit, we fight back,” Riddle said, referring to Conyers' resolve to remain in an office some have said he should leave. “(Conyers) will not back down.”

Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed confirmed that the congressman was hospitalized overnight, but could not provide an update or details about his condition.

“He has been hospitalized since yesterday,” Reed told The Detroit News. “The family is asking that they respect their privacy at this juncture in this difficult time. It’s very difficult.”

Riddle also spoke to members of the media in front of the gated property on Seven Mile in Detroit, where he offered a little more detail:

“The congressman is resting comfortably at an area hospital. He's doing OK, as well as he can be expected for a gentleman who's approaching 90 years of age,” Riddle said to TV crews. “So, you can wait out here as long as you want. He won't be coming out. ... His wife Monica is by his side."

jdickson@detroitnews.com

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