The Los Angeles-area Democrat offered his first words of conciliation but otherwise struck a defiant tone in a two-page letter to fellow senators who can censure, suspend or expel him as soon as Thursday. Photo from the State of California. Tony Mendoza (D) stepped down just ahead of a possible vote to remove him from office.
It is now up to the Senate to determine how to discipline Mendoza.
If Republicans unanimously withheld support from the resolution to remove Mendoza from office, it would have failed.
In a letter to Senate members, Mendoza said he was resigning immediately, saying: "I refuse to participate any further in the farcical "investigation" against me that ignores the Senate's own rules, invents processes, criteria and standards as needed, ignores due process and constitutional rights to self-defense all for the goal of playing to election-year politicking".
It goes on to say that Senate leader Kevin de León, Mendoza's former weekday roommate and a candidate for U.S. Senate, "will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeToo movement of his "sincerity" in supporting the MeToo cause".
Mendoza sued the state Senate last week alleging that the chamber had denied his constituents adequate representation. It also notes that the Senate "is committed to providing a workplace free of sexual harassment and, in furtherance of that commitment, has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy regarding harassment". Two law firms were hired to investigate.
The six women did not accuse Mendoza of being "sexually aggressive" or crude, but rather that they "understood that Mendoza was suggesting sexual contact" and feared that reporting his conduct would hurt them professionally, according to the summary.
"Four of these women were working for Mendoza as staff members, interns or fellows at the time of his conduct", according to the summary. Mendoza was accused of firing the staffers for reporting the sexual harassment allegations, but the independent investigation found it was more likely than not the staffers were fired for reasons unrelated to sexual harassment complaints.
- engaged in flirtatious and suggestive behavior with a female lobbyist in 2015, taking her out to dinner and asking her "what type of guys she likes".
Investigators did not find evidence to support the claim that Mendoza fired three of his staffers previous year in retaliation for reporting the senator's behavior, as an attorney has alleged.
He also argued that he should not be removed from the Legislature "Unwelcome flirtation should not result in expulsion", Mendoza wrote.
He noted that he is up for reelection in June, and voters should be able to decide if he should hold onto his seat.
Mr. Mendoza has filed suit against the State Legislature, alleging that he has been treated unfairly because he is Latino.
The senator is expected to be given a chance to speak on Thursday morning when the full Senate is schedule to debate disciplinary action against him.
Mendoza is married with four children.
One former staffer, for example, told investigators that Mendoza asked her to share a hotel room with him during a 2007 event in Hawaii.