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State Sen. Mendoza Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Charges

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Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (KPCC)

Updated Thursday at 1:10 p.m.

Before state senators could vote on a resolution to expel him over sexual harassment allegations, state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) resigned Thursday, saying in a letter that the investigation was "farcical" and that he "cannot expect fairness or justice" from politicians who are running for office.

The action comes after Democrats and Republicans caucused to discuss the matter, following Tuesday's release of a summary of the findings in an outside investigation into sexual harassment claims against Mendoza.

The report by the law firms of Gibson Dunn and Van Dermyden Maddux finds it “more likely than not” Mendoza engaged in a pattern of unwelcome flirtation and sexually suggestive behavior toward women in the state Capitol. The summary can be found here.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Mendoza's former roommate, defended the investigation.

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“This Senate conducted a full, fair and independent investigation," de León said. "And what it found was clear and convincing evidence of a pattern of inappropriate behavior, even after unambiguous warnings."

De León, who is running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Dianne Feinstein, was pushing for Mendoza's expulsion. But it was not clear the necessary two-thirds majority of the state Senate to expel Mendoza agreed with him.

The investigation began after several women accused Mendoza of sexual harassment. He has been on leave from the Legislature since January but has adamantly denied the claims against him, even suing the Senate over the investigation process.

Scott Shafer co-hosts Political Breakdown, a new weekly podcast and radio program on California politics. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

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