Franken Calls for Ethics Investigation Into Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Him

US senator Al Franken apologises after accusation of groping

Now it's Senator Al Franken who's accused of sexual assault in the past.

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio news anchor, said Thursday that Franken forcibly kissed her during a skit rehearsal while both were on a 2006 USO tour.

Franken continued to say he didn't remember the exact actions of the rehearsal skit, but added, "I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences".

"And during the show I would, I was kind of co-host with a lovely woman named Leeann Tweeden, and we'd do comedy routines, we'd introduce music, we'd introduce cheerleaders", Franken said.

"To this day I talk about it and my hand clenches into a fist", Tweeden said.

Tweeden alleged that while she and Franken were rehearsing a skit for a USO tour, Franken grabbed her, kissed her and forced his tongue into her mouth. He apologized to the Los Angeles anchor and said he regretted a posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept. "And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed", he said in the statement. "Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated", she wrote. "Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's amusing?" As she slept, Tweeden says Franken groped her breasts in a moment that was caught on camera. His office released a statement saying the photo was meant to be amusing, though he also offered his apologies. "I said "OK" so he would stop badgering me".

Until recently, Franken has distanced himself from comedy altogether during his eight years in the United States Senate.

Tweeden held a press conference Thursday afternoon and spoke more about the allegations.

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

Franken issued a statement offering his "sincerest apologies" to Tweeden. It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate.

Tweeden wrote in a column on Tuesday that Franken forcefully kissed her and groped her without permission in 2006. "We have no knowledge of it".

Murray said, "This is unacceptable behavior and extremely disappointing".

The Democrat Franken rose to fame as a comedian and writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live, and some of his quips and performances were touchy subjects well before he ran to represent Minnesota in the Senate.

Moore, 70, has denied the accusations and said he was the victim of a witch hunt. Franken also called for an ethics investigation.

"I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter", he said in a brief statement, calling the claims "credible".

When asked about Alabama Senate candidate Moore, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said reporters should be asking her instead about Franken and called up the photograph on her phone. Then he said it again.

He released the memoir "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate" in May, where he wrote about having to suppress his comedic instincts in him in order to be taken seriously as a politician.

Franken has apologized and and said that his recollection of the incident differs from the one presented by Tweeden.

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