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California Sen. Tony Mendoza Apologizes, Asks To Keep His Job After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Steve Yeater / AP Photo

Democratic State Sen. Tony Mendoza stands on the floor of the Senate chambers in between private meetings of the Democratic caucus, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.

Steve Yeater / AP Photo

State Sen. Tony Mendoza made a plea to his fellow lawmakers Wednesday to let him keep his job — a day before the full Senate could suspend or expel him from the Legislature.

Mendoza, a Los Angeles County Democrat, has been on paid leave since early January following sexual misconduct allegations.

An outside investigation found six women, including former staff and an intern, were "more likely than not" subjected to unwanted flirtatious or sexually suggestive behavior by Mendoza over the past decade.

Mendoza wrote in a letter to the Senate that the reports findings “do not comport" with his recollection of the alleged incidents. “I am immensely sorry if my words or actions ever made anyone feel uncomfortable," the letter reads.

He also argued that he should not be removed from the Legislature “Unwelcome flirtation should not result in expulsion,” Mendoza wrote. “I believe that my suspension or expulsion from the Senate would be both unwarranted and unprecedented.”

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.

He said the punishments being considered, particularly expulsion, do not match with the Senate’s own disciplinary rules.

He added that he’s been kept in the dark about the investigation and not allowed to read the full report.

In a statement last week, the Senate Rules Committee said Mendoza “was afforded significant opportunity to present his position during the investigative process.” It added that he will have the chance to contest any recommendation on the Senate floor.

The Rules Committee met on Wednesday but did not make public any recommendation on a censure for Mendoza.

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