Sen. Al Franken back at work, 'ashamed' amid groping claims

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he feels "embarrassed and ashamed" amid allegations that he groped several women, but said he looks forward to returning to work on Monday and gradually regaining voters' trust.

Posted: Nov 27, 2017 7:32 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he feels "embarrassed and ashamed" amid allegations that he groped several women, but said he looks forward to returning to work on Monday and gradually regaining voters' trust.

The Democrat spoke to a handful of Minnesota media outlets on Sunday in the first interviews he's granted since being swept into a nationwide tide of sexual misconduct allegations. Four women have accused the U.S. senator of sexual misconduct.

Three women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks while taking photos with them during separate incidents at campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he doesn't remember taking the specific photos, but said such groping is "not something I would intentionally do."

Asked whether he expected other women to step forward with similar allegations, Franken said: "If you had asked me two weeks ago, 'Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?' I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise. ... I certainly hope not."

The first woman to come forward was Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden. She released a photo earlier this month showing the then-comedian grinning while reaching out toward her chest, as if to grope her, as she slept on a military aircraft during a USO tour in 2006.

Franken told Minnesota Public Radio on Sunday the photo was "inexcusable." He declined to explain it further.

"What my intention was doesn't matter. What matters is that I am chained to that photo," Franken said. "She ... didn't have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo. I have apologized to her, and I was very grateful that she accepted my apology."

Tweeden said Franken also forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a USO performance; Franken has said he has a different recollection of the rehearsal.

Franken faces a Senate ethics investigation - which he welcomed in the wake of Tweeden's allegation - though it's unclear when that review may begin. Franken, who hasn't faced widespread calls to resign, said he will fully cooperate.

Franken missed votes after the first accusations were made public. He said he spent the holiday break with his wife and the rest of his supportive family. When he goes back to work Monday, he said, he'll ask tough questions about proposed tax legislation that "would affect Minnesota and the rest of the country in a terrible way."

Franken sidestepped when asked whether the allegations would make him less effective in the Senate. He noted he has apologized to women who have felt disrespected and "to everyone I have let down."

"I think this will take some time," he told Minnesota Public Radio. "I am trying to handle this in a way that adds to an important conversation. And to be a better public servant and a better man. That is what my goal is."

Franken's staff didn't respond to repeated interview requests from The Associated Press.

Franken came to the Senate after a months-long recount gave him a 312-vote victory in his 2008 election. He immediately tried to distance himself from his decades of professional comedy, which included raunchy writing and off-color jokes. He also avoided national reporters.

Dozens of women who've worked with Franken, including former Senate staffers and women who worked with him on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," signed statements supporting Franken following Tweeden's allegations.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Robinson
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Rockville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 62°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Brazil
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 63°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 63°
Mostly clear, calm evening.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Evening Forecast

Image

Saturday: Mostly sunny, unseasonably warm. High: 89°

Image

Casey-Westfield

Image

Parke Heritage football

Image

Sullivan football

Image

Robinson football

Image

VL Football

Image

North Knox football

Image

THN Football

Image

THS Football

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1590342

Reported Deaths: 26979
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook60937610925
DuPage1031521352
Will865801083
Lake764741056
Kane65399842
Winnebago38682543
Madison37731569
St. Clair34758561
McHenry32773313
Peoria25738361
Champaign25601182
Sangamon24263266
McLean21611205
Tazewell19559326
Rock Island17631342
Kankakee16523233
Kendall15274105
LaSalle14349275
Macon14248233
Vermilion12908182
Adams12589147
DeKalb11542127
Williamson11206156
Whiteside7813176
Boone756681
Jackson756683
Coles7175112
Ogle705385
Grundy693181
Clinton676498
Franklin669694
Knox6528163
Marion6454135
Macoupin636597
Henry610272
Jefferson5981131
Effingham588980
Livingston564394
Woodford549791
Stephenson540089
Randolph522996
Monroe503299
Christian481980
Morgan479995
Fulton479069
Logan473573
Montgomery462876
Lee454956
Bureau423087
Perry411171
Saline399263
Iroquois391171
Fayette387756
McDonough352155
Jersey319753
Douglas303336
Shelby300343
Crawford298930
Lawrence294631
Union293846
Wayne267957
White261530
Richland256852
Hancock253434
Pike252256
Cass247728
Clark244138
Bond242224
Clay233347
Ford233056
Edgar229844
Carroll223937
Warren220456
Moultrie209331
Johnson208922
Washington204927
Jo Daviess203525
Greene199339
Mason196251
Wabash196115
Massac195144
De Witt192730
Piatt188814
Mercer187035
Cumberland174123
Menard155812
Jasper149518
Marshall133721
Hamilton127221
Brown10138
Pulaski97311
Schuyler9608
Edwards94815
Stark76027
Gallatin7285
Scott6895
Alexander66411
Calhoun6382
Henderson63114
Hardin55713
Putnam5414
Pope4725
Unassigned1582432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468