John Conyers III, the son of embattled Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), had been accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend in a domestic dispute in February, reports say.
The younger Conyers, a Detroit hedge fund manager who had been endorsed by his father to take his place in the House of Representatives, was arrested but not charged for allegedly stabbing and bodyslamming his then-girlfriend during an argument they had in Los Angeles, California, the New York Times reported.
Conyers III told the Times in an interview Wednesday about the encounter as a way to prevent scandal after his father announced his retirement following allegations of sexual harassment.
The younger Conyers said he and his girlfriend got into an argument at 3 a.m. February 15 that turned into a physical fight. Police later arrested him for domestic violence, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges.
His girlfriend, who is not identified in court documents, secured a restraining order against Conyers III that remains in effect through March 2018.
Conyers III maintained his innocence in the interview with the Times.
“She says I stabbed her, which makes no sense,” Conyers III, 27, said. “I didn’t do this. She and I had a verbal altercation, and that escalated. She pulled the knife on me. She was chasing me. I tried to take it from her. There was a struggle. I pinned her to the wall. She kept swinging, and she cut herself.”
The girlfriend, however, told a different story to police. She told investigators that her 27-year-old boyfriend at the time became violent after accusing her of cheating on him.
She added that Conyers III “body slammed her on the bed and then on the floor where he pinned her down and spit on her,” according to court documents obtained by the New York Daily News.
After she tried to call the police, Conyers allegedly snatched her phone and chased her into the kitchen. She brandished a knife and yelled at him to leave, but Conyers allegedly snatched the knife from her hands and sliced her arm while swinging the knife at her.
Conyers III had been released $50,000 bond the same day as his arrest, and the district attorney’s office declined to pursue charges, citing a “lack of independent witnesses.”
Although the girlfriend suffered a small stab wound to her lower bicep, prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to prove that she did not accidentally injure herself.
The elder Conyers announced his retirement from Congress Tuesday and endorsed the younger Conyers to run as his successor.
The longest-serving House member had been hospitalized recently for what staffers say are stress-related health issues.
Conyers announced in November that he would step down from his seat as a ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee as accusations of his sexually harassing employees mounted.
A BuzzFeed News report revealed that Conyers’ congressional office paid a former female staffer $27,000 of taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim, which prompted the House Ethics Committee to investigate Conyers’ conduct.