With Franken, the Reckoning Over Sexual Misconduct Comes to the Democrats


"I said something like, 'Relax Al, this isn't SNL...we don't need to rehearse the kiss'". Al Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.

Tweeden said she assumed she could turn her head away or put her hand over Franken's mouth "to get more laughs from the crowd".

Senator Al Franken has issued an extended apology following allegations by a Los Angeles radio talk show news anchor that he kissed and groped her during a USO tour to the middle east.

Television host and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden revealed the allegations in a post on the website of KABC-Radio in Los Angeles.

Tweeden also included a photo of her sleeping on board an aircraft later during the trip, in which Franken is shown reaching out as if to grope her breasts. His office released a statement saying the photo was meant to be amusing, though he also offered his apologies.

In Franken's statement - a follow-up to a widely criticized brief apology released earlier Thursday - the former funnyman apologized more effusively to Tweeden and for his actions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now advocating for an ethics investigation into Franken.

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In response, Franken wrote that he doesn't "remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way", and said the photo "was clearly meant to be amusing but wasn't".

Despite her need to report it, the anchor confesses she didn't do it because of the fear of reprisals and the consequences it could bring to her career. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate.

Franken, a well-known writer, comedian and Saturday Night Live staffer was not elected to the senate until 2009. "He groped me without my consent while I was asleep", she said.

"I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter", he said in a brief statement, calling the claims "credible". She added Franken should leave the Senate if the account is true.

"He walked up to me, found me in a room, and said hello to me and I was very cold to him", she said. "I hope the Democratic leader will join me on this. If there are other people who come out and say he's done this, I don't know". Other senators, including Democratic senators Kristen Gillibrand and Tammy Duckworth, spoke out about the incident and supported an ethics investigation into Sen.

For Democrats, the swift requests for an investigation into Franken were necessary to avoid the suggestion of hypocrisy, since a lot of them have condemned Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of making advances to teenagers when he was a local prosecutor in his 30s.

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Unruh said her son, now a college sophomore, didn't report the incident to police at the time because of "embarrassment and fear". Her son is represented by Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney best known for representing clergy sex abuse victims.