Senator Franken, on groping allegations,
vows 'this will not happen again'
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[November 28, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.
Democratic Senator Al Franken returned to Congress on Monday to begin
what he called a process of rebuilding trust shattered by allegations he
had groped or inappropriately touched women, vowing "this will not
"I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious when in these
circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive and that this will
not happen again going forward," he told reporters outside his office on
Franken has been accused of sexual misconduct by Leann Tweeden, a radio
broadcaster who in 2006 appeared with Franken in an entertainment tour
for U.S. troops serving in war zones.
Prior to winning his Senate seat, Franken was a well-known comedian,
television writer and author.
Another woman, Lindsay Menz, accused Franken of touching her buttocks
when they were being photographed at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
A contrite Franken appeared on Monday before a throng of reporters
gathered outside his office as the senator vowed to get back to work
following a week-long Senate Thanksgiving break.
"I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust and
I know that's going to take time. I'm ready to start that process and it
starts with going back to work today," Franken said, apparently
addressing his Minnesota constituents back home.
Franken, first elected in 2008, is not due to run for a third Senate
term until 2020.
Following sexual misconduct allegations against movie producer Harvey
Weinstein, additional complaints have been made regarding other big
names in entertainment and in politics, notably Republican U.S. Senate
candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, and Representative John Conyers of
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U.S. Senator Al Franken leaves after speaking to the media outside
his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017.
All three men have denied the allegations, which Reuters has not
been able to verify, and Conyers has stepped down as senior Democrat
on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
In November, 2008, Franken barely won election in a race so close
that it took vote recounts and court rulings before he finally was
declared the winner the following July.
Because of the closeness of his race and his background in
entertainment and not government service, Franken came to the Senate
refusing most media interviews. He kept a low profile while he tried
to demonstrate to constituents that he was serious about his new
Eight years later, Franken is again having to prove himself with
Noting that his supporters had "counted on me to be a champion for
women," Franken again apologized for his behavior.
In response to a reporter's question, he said he would be "open" to
making public the findings of a Senate ethics probe once that
process is complete.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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