Franken embarrassed in the middle of groping claims, will go back to work



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MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he feels "embarrbaded and embarrbaded" amid accusations that he threw several women, but said he expects to return to work on Monday and gradually regain voter confidence.

The Democrat spoke with a handful of Minnesota media Sunday in the first interviews he has granted since being dragged into a national tide of accusations of badual misconduct. Four women accused the US senator of badual misconduct.

Three women claim that Franken grabbed them from their bad while taking photos with them during separate incidents at campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he does not remember taking the specific photos, but said that Testing is "something I would not do intentionally".

When asked if she expected other women to step up with similar accusations, Franken said: "If you had asked me two weeks ago," Does any woman say that she had treated her with disrespect? I would have said no, so this has just taken me by surprise … I certainly hope not. "

The first woman to introduce herself was Los Angeles news anchor, Leeann Tweeden. She released a photo earlier this month showing the then comedian smiling as she reached out to her chest, as if groping, while sleeping on a military plane during an USO tour in 2006.

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

"What my intention was does not matter, what matters is that I'm chained to that picture," Franken said. "She … had no capacity for consent, she had every right to feel violated by that picture, I apologized to her, and I was very grateful she accepted my apology."

Tweeden said that Franken also kissed her forcefully while rehearsing for an USO concert; Franken has said he has a different memory of the essay.

Franken faces an ethical Senate investigation, which he welcomed with Tweeden's accusation, though it is unclear when that review will begin. Franken, who has not been forced to resign, said he will cooperate fully.

He said he spent the holidays with his wife for 48 years and the rest of his support family. When he returns to work on Monday, he said he will ask tough questions about proposed tax legislation that "would affect Minnesota and the rest of the country in a terrible way."

Franken deviated when asked if the accusations would make him less effective in the Senate. He noted that he has apologized to women who have felt disrespectful and "to everyone I have disappointed."

"I think this will take some time," he told Minnesota Public Radio. "I'm 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's my goal. "

Franken staff did not respond to The Repeated Interview requests. Associated Press

Franken came to the Senate after a count of months gave him a 312-vote victory in his 2008 election. He immediately tried to distance himself from his decades of professional comedy, which included obscene writings and colorless jokes. He also avoided national reporters.

Dozens of women who have worked with Franken, including former Senate staff members and women who worked with him on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," signed statements supporting Franken following Tweeden's accusations.

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

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