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Conyers, wife Monica renew vows amid divorce case

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Though they had been in the middle of a divorce case, Detroit Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. and wife, former Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers, renewed their wedding vows Saturday.

Monica Conyers confirmed the ceremony in a group text Sunday that was obtained by The Detroit News. There were Facebook posts and photos of the outdoor ceremony, including a post by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans, who is friends with Monica.

Evans subsequently deleted the post.

The vow renewal was first reported by Deadline Detroit.

A hearing in the Conyers’ divorce proceedings scheduled for Monday morning was adjourned, and the Conyerses didn’t show up, according to the office of Judge Alexis Glendening in Wayne County Circuit Court’s Family Division. Their next scheduled court appearance is Sept. 16.

Daniel Findling, who represents Monica Conyers, said the case was adjourned Monday at the request of counsel “while we determine the proper course of the case … and explore the journey that the parties are taking.”

“The case may be dismissed; the case may result in something else. Obviously, relationships are complicated, and they take their own journey,” Findling said. “The congressman and my client are no different than any other human being, and conflicted. It appears from their recent renuptials, the conflict has taken a positive course towards reconciliation, but we’ll see.”

Lawyers from both sides would be sitting down with their respective clients to discuss their options going forward, he said.

John Conyers’ lawyer, Arnold E. Reed, said on Twitter Monday that “JC wanted to reconcile #God, family, #public service is his life long clarion call. At this time, he is resolute in this calling.”

Monica Conyers, 51, who went to prison in a bribery scandal, filed for divorce on Sept. 3, 2015. John, 87, counter-sued on Sept. 21. Monica Conyers’ filing cited “a breakdown of marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed. There remains no reasonable likelihood the marriage can be preserved.”

Reed said last fall that the longest-serving member of Congress hoped to preserve his 25-year marriage.

Conyers was elected to his first term in 1964 and is the dean of the U.S. House. In 1990, he married Monica Conyers, who was elected to council in 2005. They have two grown sons.

She was elevated to council president following the resignation of then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during his text message scandal. The tenure included many controversies.

Monica Conyers pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2010 and was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for accepting money in exchange for her vote on a $1 billion sludge-hauling deal. In August 2014, she was released from probation eight months early.

His wife’s problems have not affected the re-election prospects of her husband, who has faced Democratic primary opposition in recent elections where the criticism has focused on his age and ability to represent the 13th Congressional District. On Aug. 2, he defeated Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey 61-39 percent; in 2014, he defeated the Rev. Horace Sheffield III by more than 50 percentage points.

Earlier this month, Reed told The News there was “nothing new” with the divorce case and that he had no knowledge of whether the two had reconciled or were traveling together.

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Staff Writers Oralandar Brand-Williams, Joel Kurth and Chad Livengood contributed