Woman accuses US Senator Al Franken of unwanted groping

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, like Franken a Democrat, also criticized his behavior and called for an investigation.

In a statement to Bustle, Franken says he does not remember the incident and that the photo was meant to be amusing. Her account includes a photo of Franken posing for the camera as he reaches for Tweeden's breasts while she appears to be asleep.

Franken said he intended for the photo to be amusing, but it wasn't.

Radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden says that Sen. "Then, when Lesley's passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her, '" Franken said. Franken decided their characters would kiss and "mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth", Tweeden writes. A copy of the photo is posted with the article.

Franken was quoted discussing a sketch with fellow writers Jim Downey and Norm Macdonald, the latter of whom was to play former "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney.

"I felt like he wrote that just to get that piece in, because he knew he wasn't going to get it on stage and that was why he was badgering me to do it then when we were alone because that's what he wanted", she said.

Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she was "shocked and concerned" at the allegations. He also asked for an ethics investigation, a request that is already moving forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called for an ethics investigation into the allegations, something that Democrats agreed with. "I said something like, 'Relax Al, this isn't SNL ... we don't need to rehearse the kiss'".

Tweeden said Franken wrote a skit that included a kiss between the two and said he insisted upon rehearsing it, which she, at first, resisted.

"I'm telling my story because there may be others", she said. "I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this", McConnell said in a written statement. "It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate", he said.

Tweeden told The Associated Press that Franken wrote a skit for the pair that was filled with "sexual innuendo", and that he had brought a woman's thong as a prop that he waved around during their performance. "And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed".

"To say I was sorry for writing a joke was to sell out my career, to sell out who I'd been my entire life", Franken said. He also called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the allegations and pledged to fully cooperate.

She said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) inspired her to come forward with her story.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the highest-ranking woman in the Democratic Senate leadership said Franken's apology "doesn't reverse what he's done or end the matter". "Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable - in the workplace or anywhere else".

  • Jon Douglas