Key events related to misconduct allegations against Franken
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Key events related to allegations of sexual misconduct by Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken:
A Los Angeles radio anchor accuses Franken of forcibly kissing her while they were rehearsing during a 2006 USO tour. KABC anchor Leeann Tweeden also made public a photo that shows Franken smiling, with his hands over her chest as if to grope her, as she slept. Franken, who was a comedian at the time, released a statement saying he remembered the alleged kiss differently and he felt “disgusted with myself” over the photo. He apologized to Tweeden and to the public, and said he would cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.
Some of his fellow Democrats condemned his behavior, but most stopped short of calling for him to step down. The allegation came amid a tide of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful figures in politics, media and entertainment since claims against movie producer Harvey Weinstein became public in early October.
Franken canceled a sold-out book festival appearance scheduled for Nov. 20, in Atlanta. He had been scheduled to speak and promote his book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.” The senator misses votes on the Senate floor and stays out of the public eye for days.
Several women who worked with Franken sign a statement supporting him.
CNN reports that a second woman is claiming Franken acted inappropriately. Lindsay Menz told CNN that Franken put his hand on her buttocks in 2010 while posing for a picture at the Minnesota State Fair. Franken was a senator at the time. He told CNN in a statement that he didn’t remember taking the photo, but he feels badly that she felt disrespected.
Two women who remained anonymous allege that Franken touched their buttocks during events for his first campaign for Senate. The women told the Huffington Post that the events happened in Minneapolis in 2007 and 2008. Franken says in a statement: “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.”
Franken still has not appeared in the public eye. His aides have said he’s “spending time with his family and doing a lot of reflecting.” He released expanded statements to the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio saying he is a warm person who hugs people and has learned that “in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.” He added that some women have found his embraces during greetings or photos inappropriate and he recognizes he needs to be more careful in those situations.
Franken tells a handful of Minnesota media outlets that he is “embarrassed and ashamed” amid allegations that he groped several women, but he looked forward to returning to work Monday and regaining voters’ trust. He says he was caught off-guard by the allegations against him.
Franken returns to work and says he knows he “let a lot of people down.” He vowed to try to regain the public’s trust, but dismissed a question about a possible resignation. He again promises to cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.
A fifth woman comes forward with an allegation. Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin, of Maineville, Ohio, tells CNN that Franken groped her during a USO Christmas tour in the Middle East in 2003. Kemplin, who was deployed to Kuwait at the time, said Franken cupped her right breast when she stood next to him for a photo. Franken’s office released a statement saying the senator takes thousands of photos and has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct.
A woman identified only as a former elected official in New England tells Jezebel that Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006. The woman said she appeared on Franken’s radio show Air America and after the interview, she tried to shake his hand but he took it and leaned in for a kiss. She said she turned her head and he kissed her on the cheek.
A Senate Ethics panel announces it has opened a preliminary inquiry into Franken.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, resigns, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations in workplaces. He continued to deny allegations that he groped or sexually harassed women who worked for him.
A seventh woman accuses Franken of sexual misconduct. According to Politico, the woman, a former Democratic congressional aide, said Franken tried to kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. The woman, who wasn’t identified, says that after her boss left and she was collecting her belongings, Franken tried to kiss her, saying: “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Franken categorically denies the allegation, saying the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was “preposterous.”
A group of female Democratic senators, and some of their male colleagues, call upon Franken to resign. Within an hour, his office released a statement saying: “Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow. More details to come.”
An eighth woman comes forward to tell Politico that Franken groped her while posing for a photo at a party to celebrate Barack Obama’s first inauguration as president. Tina Dupuy told the publication that Franken grabbed a handful of flesh around her waist and squeezed at least twice.
Franken announces on to the Senate that he will resign in the coming weeks.
He insists that some of the allegations against him “are simply not true,” while he recalls other situations that have come to light in recent weeks “quite differently.”