Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Al Franken accuser says she believes his apology is 'heartfelt'

Al Franken accuser says she believes his apology is 'heartfelt'

Franken said he doesn't remember the kiss - part of a rehearsal for the USO show - as Tweeden does but he understands "why we need to listen to and believe women's experience". I said something like, 'Relax Al, this isn't SNL...we don't need to rehearse the kiss'. "I said "OK" so he would stop badgering me", she wrote. "I felt disgusted and violated" and "wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone", she continues. "Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated", Tweeden wrote. "Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's amusing?" He also says he shouldn't have posed for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.

In a statement he released Thursday morning Franken said he was ashamed of his actions, and apologized to KABC's Leeann Tweeden, co-workers, staffers and constituents.

Franken said he intended for the photo to be amusing, but it wasn't.

Franken described their performances on USO tours during a 2010 Senate floor speech in opposition to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

She told reporters in a later press conference that she considered the kiss an assault but accepted his apology.

Tweeden has accepted Franken's apology, and told Tapper she believes the senator's apology is "heartfelt".

By Maria L. Taylor  Wikipedia Commons Comedian Al Franken performs for military members at Ramstein Air Base Germany in 2000
By Maria L. Taylor Wikipedia Commons Comedian Al Franken performs for military members at Ramstein Air Base Germany in 2000

Franken issued an initial apology on Thursday morning. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. "It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate", he said. Al Franken kissed and groped a woman with whom he was performing a comedy skit is serious, and should be taken seriously. "We have no knowledge of it".

"I respect women. I don't respect men who don't", said Franken, who joined the Senate in 2009 after a career as a comedian.

INSKEEP: And of course, Republicans are in a situation where they've been having to answer questions for days about the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, and the various accusations against Roy Moore.

In the spiraling national conversation about sexual harassment, women on Capitol Hill also have recounted groping and unwanted advances from men and said that Congress lacks sufficient protections for them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now advocating for an ethics investigation into Franken. Franken also called for an ethics investigation. She had fallen asleep and a photographer captured an image of Franken acting as if he were touching her breasts. "My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a "little piece of home" to service members stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege", she wrote.

State Democratic Chairman Ken Martin praised Tweeden for telling her story and said there was no excuse for Franken's actions.

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