The Latest: Expelled Colorado lawmaker switches parties

The Latest: Expelled Colorado lawmaker switches parties

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DENVER (AP) — The Latest on sexual harassment allegations against a Colorado state House member (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

A Colorado lawmaker expelled from office over sexual misconduct allegations switched parties right before the vote, a move which would allow Republicans to name his replacement.

Rep. Steve Lebsock was a Democrat but changed his registration Friday to Republican.

The secretary of state's office says the switch was made about an hour before the expulsion vote as lawmakers debated his fate.

Because he technically was a Republican when he was expelled, a group of local Republicans would normally decide who will fill the district vacancy.

But the state GOP says that vacancy committee might decline to fill his seat with a Republican.

If that happens, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper would appoint a replacement.

Democrats will still maintain their control of the chamber despite losing his seat.


4:15 p.m.

The Colorado House has voted to expel a Democrat lawmaker over sexual misconduct allegations.

Rep. Steve Lebsock is the second U.S. state lawmaker kicked out of office since the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct began last fall.

Democratic leaders took the vote Friday after an outside investigator said allegations were credible that Lebsock sexually harassed or intimidated five women, including a fellow House member, inside the statehouse and at bars and restaurants.

Lebsock denied the claims and called for a formal investigation. He is the first Colorado lawmaker to be expelled since 1915.

Numerous female lawmakers took their turns at the podium during the debate Friday to come out as victims of sexual harassment or abuse.


2:45 p.m.

Several Colorado legislators are detailing their experiences with sexual assault during a debate on whether to expel a colleague on sexual misconduct charges.

Democratic Rep. Chris Hansen told the Colorado House on Friday that his wife — and his family — are survivors.

Hansen said his wife was assaulted and drugged by an assailant.

Hansen was among several lawmakers who cited their experiences in urging a yes vote to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock.

Lebsock is accused of harassing five women. He denies the claims.


10:45 a.m.

A Colorado lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct is asking his colleagues for a formal investigation, saying a previous outside review was flawed.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Lebsock said Friday the independent investigator hired by House leaders to look into the claims was "of the lowest standard."

Republicans want to convene a bipartisan committee with subpoena powers to look into the allegations.

They complain they're being asked to expel Lebsock on the basis of a redacted report by the investigator that was provided by Democratic leaders.

The investigator determined harassment complaints by five women against Lebsock were credible. Lebsock says they are lying.


10:15 a.m.

A Colorado state lawmaker who accused a Democratic colleague of sexual harassment says an expected vote on whether to expel him isn't part of a vendetta.

Rather, Democratic Rep. Faith Winter said Friday, the move involving Rep. Steve Lebsock is about punishing the abuse of power.

House lawmakers were debating a resolution to expel Lebsock after a report by an outside investigator was provided to lawmakers this week.

Lebsock denies claims by Winter and four other women that he harassed them in the statehouse and at restaurants and bars.

The independent investigator found the claims to be credible.


9:25 a.m.

Colorado state House lawmakers have begun debate over whether to expel one of their own over sexual misconduct allegations.

An independent investigator determined that claims by five women that Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock had harassed them are credible.

Lebsock denies the claims. He's been given a total of 2 ½ hours during Friday's debate to argue why he should retain his seat.

Democrats control Colorado's House but don't have the two-thirds needed to pass their expulsion resolution.

Not one Republican has indicated that they would vote to expel. They say the Legislature's investigative process is fraught with problems.

An Arizona state representative is the only state lawmaker to have been expelled over sexual misconduct allegations since the rise of the #MeToo movement.


12:40 a.m.

An effort by Colorado Democrats to expel one of their own over sexual misconduct allegations faces tough odds Friday amid Republican objections to how the complaints have been handled.

A redacted report released Tuesday found credible claims by five women that Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock had harassed them.

Lebsock denies wrongdoing.

Democrats, who control Colorado's House but don't have the two-thirds needed, scheduled debate and a vote Friday on a resolution to expel Lebsock. Not one Republican has indicated they would vote to expel.

An Arizona state representative is the only state lawmaker to have been expelled over sexual misconduct allegations since the rise of the #MeToo movement. A California state senator resigned just moments before his colleagues sought to formally expel him.

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