Conyers suspends chief of staff after guilty plea

Joel Kurth
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. John Conyers has suspended his chief of staff, who pleaded guilty last week to a charge of receiving stolen property.

The announcement by the Detroit Democrat follows Cynthia Martin’s guilty plea last week before District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Rhonda Reid Winston to the misdemeanor charge. Martin agreed to pay $13,000 restitution, according to court records.

“I was disappointed to learn of this matter. I have placed Ms. Martin on unpaid leave pending my further review,” Conyers said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Court records indicate she was charged March 9 and is due for a sentencing review on Sept. 28, but do not offer any details about the allegations.

An online docket indicates that if Martin “complies with all terms of the government, the Government will enter a nolle.” That is likely shorthand for “nolle prosequi,” a decision to no longer prosecute.

Conyers, 86, is the longest-serving member of Congress and was first elected in 1965. He represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and has had occasional flare-ups with his staff.

In 2006, Conyers cited a “lack of clarity” and accepted responsibility for possible violation of House rules when two former aides accused him of forcing them to baby-sit and chauffeur his two sons.

He is in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife, former Detroit City Council Interim President Monica Conyers. A settlement conference is scheduled for Thursday in Third Circuit Court.