- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee lawmaker says he resigned at the urging of Republican leadership after being accused of sexual misconduct at a legislative event.

Former Rep. Mark Lovell, who represented suburban Shelby County, tells WATN-TV in Memphis (https://bit.ly/2lggZQR ) that GOP leaders were worried that the party could be dragged through the mud by an investigation into his actions regardless of whether he was guilty.

Lovell says there is “zero” truth to the allegations and that he would have remained in the Legislature to contest them had he not been asked to step aside. In the former lawmaker’s words, the move was needed “to take the heat off the Republican Party.”

House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams tells The Tennessean he informed Lovell he would demand his resignation if the allegations were true.

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