Al Franken accuser: 'I've been angry about it ... for over 10 years'

Posted November 17, 2017

Franken becomes the latest figure swept up in sexual harassment allegations that have mushroomed since Hollywood figure Harvey Weinstein was hit with multiple allegations.

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles-based news anchor, came forward with the allegations in an op-ed published by KABC radio on Thursday that detailed an encounter with Franken during a tour of the Middle East to entertain USA troops in 2006. Upon browsing through them she found one that appears to show Franken grinning a the camera, standing over Tweeden with his hands either hovering over, or grabbing her breasts.

Heitkamp says society has been "far too tolerant and dismissive" of sexual harassment allegations, and that cases that are now coming to light are "a sea change that is very important". Other senators, including Democratic senators Kristen Gillibrand and Tammy Duckworth, spoke out about the incident and supported an ethics investigation into Sen. He called for an ethics investigation into himself, saying he will "gladly cooperate".

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"I felt belittled. I was ashamed". She alleges that despite her protests, he insisted they practice the kiss during rehearsal.

When asked if she thought Franken should step down, Tweeden said, "That's not why I came out with my story".

Tweeden says Franken wrote a special part for her in his script, in which the two were meant to kiss. Al Franken, D-Minn., of sexual misconduct accepts his apology and said she is not looking for him to resign.

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"Allegations of sexual assault or harassment by any member of Congress, like those against Senator Franken, must be taken seriously and investigated fully by the Ethics Committee".

"But I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann", Franken wrote. "It wasn't until I was back in the United States and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one", Tweeden says of the photo, which shows Franken grinning, his hands on Tweeden's clothed breasts. "Why do you think there are people, there are still a lot of people who haven't told their stories", she said.

"I didn't socialize with him, I didn't talk to him for the rest of the tour", Tweeden told reporters.

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Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell responded quickly to the Franken allegations by demanding for an official investigation. "If there are other people who come out and say he's done this, I don't know". Over the last few months, all of us-including and especially men who respect women-have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women. I strongly condemn this behavior and the Senate Ethics Committee must open an investigation. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter.