Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, delivered a statement outside of his Capitol Hill office regarding the sexual misconduct allegations against him Monday afternoon.
The senator apologized again to his constituents, staff and the multiple women who have come forward accusing Franken of groping and other inappropriate behavior. He reemphasized that he does not plan to step down.
“I’m going to try to learn from my mistakes,” Franken said. “In doing so I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I want to be someone who adds something to this conversation. I hope I can do that.”
Franken said that although he has a different recollection of a rehearsal for a USO performance with radio anchor Leeann Tweeden that involved a kiss, he still believes it’s important “to respect women’s experience.”
Tweeden, who was the first woman to come forward with accusations against Franken, alleges that in that rehearsal, Franken pushed an unwanted kiss on her, and she also provided a photo showing Franken groping her, ostensibly as a joke, while she was asleep.
Following Tweeden’s story, another woman said that Franken touched her inappropriately at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. The Huffington Post also reported on two additional women who alleged that Franken touched their buttocks during 2007 and 2008 campaign events.
The senator also told reporters that he is open to making the findings of the Ethics Committee’s investigation into his behavior public.
“I’ve been trying to take responsibility by apologizing” Franken said.
Franken has apologized for his behavior multiple times, releasing a statement shortly after Tweeden published her story and amending a longer statement later on that same day. In one of his first interviews since he was accused of sexual misconduct, Franken said he is “embarrassed and ashamed,” of his behavior, according to the Star Tribune.
“I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust, I know that takes time,” Franken said Monday.
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