- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on sexual misconduct allegations at the California Legislature (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

California Sen. Tony Mendoza is striking a defiant tone and resisting calls to resign or take a leave of absence amid a sexual misconduct probe.

Mendoza said Thursday he is “very disappointed” and will “vigorously defend” himself.

His comments come after Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon asked him to go on leave until the investigation is completed.

The Senate has hired two outside law firms to look into accusations that Mendoza behaved inappropriately toward young women who worked for him, including by inviting one to his home.

Mendoza says he is concerned the investigation won’t be transparent.

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Noon

California’s Democratic Senate leader is calling on Sen. Tony Mendoza take a leave of absence amid a sexual misconduct probe.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said Thursday that Mendoza hasn’t yet agreed to the request. The Senate is investigating three claims of sexual misconduct by Mendoza toward young women who worked for him. De Leon and Mendoza used to share a home in Sacramento.

De Leon’s comments came during a press conference to announce the Senate’s hiring of two law firms to handle all investigations of sexual misconduct by lawmakers or Senate employees.

The firms are Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Van Dermyden Maddux. They have established a hotline for people to call to report misbehavior.

De Leon says he plans to soon release more detailed information about complaints and investigations against lawmakers to reporters.

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10 a.m.

Pressure is growing on Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza to resign following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct toward young women who worked for him.

Republican Sen. Andy Vidak said Thursday he’ll introduce a resolution to expel Mendoza when lawmakers return in January if he hasn’t already stepped aside. That’s after Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva told CALmatters that Mendoza should resign.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon is scheduled to address reporters on Thursday about the Senate’s efforts to address sexual harassment. De Leon, a Democrat, has said the Senate is hiring an outside law firm to look into the allegations against Mendoza, including a claim he invited a young staff member to his home. Mendoza and de Leon were roommates at the time.

Mendoza has denied acting inappropriately.

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