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August 19, 2017

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Attorney: Las Vegas senator denies sexual harassment claim

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Steve Marcus

Nevada State Sen. Mark Manendo, shown in a 2014 file photo, is denying a claim of sexual harassment against him currently under investigation.

Updated Monday, May 8, 2017 | 2:16 p.m.

CARSON CITY — A longtime state lawmaker representing Las Vegas denies a claim of sexual harassment lodged against him that is under investigation, his lawyer said Monday.

Democratic Sen. Mark Manendo believes he has done nothing wrong and will be cleared, lawyer Richard Wright said in a phone interview.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford recently directed the Legislature to conduct an independent investigation of the claim, spokesman Peter Koltak said. He declined to provide specifics about the allegation.

"We're not going to comment on any details in order to let the investigation take its course," Koltak said in a statement.

Wright said he and Manendo also have not been provided details about the allegation.

Manendo has served in the Nevada Legislature for 23 years and is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He's known as an advocate for animals with expertise on transportation issues.

Manendo has co-sponsored about 10 percent of the 1,110 bills and resolutions introduced during this year's legislative session.

Manendo declined to comment about the allegation except to say he is taking it seriously.

Manendo was accused in 2003 of sexually harassing legislative interns.

He said he did not hire a lawyer during the probe of those allegations. A legislative review found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Unlike many state legislatures , Nevada lawmakers have adopted procedures for recording and responding to claims of harassment or other unlawful sexual misconduct.

Lawmakers' self-imposed rules require the Legislature to take "appropriate disciplinary or remedial action" if a "discreet and impartial" investigation reveals misconduct.

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