SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the latest twist to a sexual harassment scandal rocking the legislature since October.
Embattled state senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) announced in writing Thursday, he’s resigning.
The move shocked his own party and came minutes before senators would’ve had the final word on his fate.
“A letter of resignation has been submitted,” said President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D- Los Angeles).
A fiery letter of resignation from their former colleague Tony Mendoza, was passed around and studied with great detail.
“I shall resign my position as Senator … as it is clear that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter,.”
“We won’t tolerate abuse of power and a pattern of behavior that violates our harassment standards,” De Leon said.
The Senate leader, who once shared a Sacramento home with Mendoza, met with senators for hours.
It was a closed caucus. Lawmakers deliberated on a possible expulsion considered unprecedented in modern times.
“The fact is that nobody has been expelled from the Senate in over 100 years — that was the last time it happened. There were three clearcut cases of bribery,” said Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).
But this was a case of alleged sexual misconduct, investigated by an outside legal team, over a period of months.
And the findings lawmakers say, were enough for Mendoza to lose support within his own democratic party.
“I think that his colleagues were not there to support him. I think they wanted to have him expelled,” said John Moorlach (R-Orange County).
But Mendoza isn’t calling it quits yet. The now ex-senator has already filed papers for another run for office.
“So that he brings his case to the voters,” said Moorlach.
Mendoza’s name may be on the June ballot. But it won’t be seen in Senate chambers anytime soon. His official picture was removed within minutes of his last-minute resignation.
A senate seal now marks the third legislator to step down over harassment claims, in recent months.