'I'm going to have to be more careful,' Sen. Al Franken said of sexual misconduct allegations
(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Al Franken, continuing to express shame and embarrassment amid allegations of sexual misconduct, is “going to have to be more careful” in his public interactions, the Minnesota Democrat told ABC St. Paul affiliate KSTP-TV.
“Look, I take thousands of pictures with constituents and people around Minnesota, around the country,” Franken said on Monday, adding the photos are sometimes captured in “crowded situations.”
“I’m going to have to be more careful in these encounters or in these situations,” he told KSTP-TV.
Franken, 66, added: “I am going to be asking when I take a picture, ‘Where do you want my hand?'”
Franken, a former actor and comedian, is accused of groping radio host Leeann Tweeden without consent while the two returned from a USO trip to Afghanistan in 2006, prior to Franken’s election to the Senate. Tweeden also alleged that the senator forcibly kissed her while she auditioned for a comedy skit, a charge Franken has said he remembered differently. He did not go into detail.
At a news conference on Monday afternoon outside his Senate office, Franken said he was “tremendously sorry” and that he has “been trying to take responsibility by apologizing.” Tweeden earlier said she accepted Franken’s apology.
After Tweeden shared her story, however, additional women stepped forward to accuse Franken of touching them inappropriately, including one who cited an alleged incident during a photo opportunity with Franken, who was a senator by then. Franken, who said he does not remember the alleged incident, told KSTP-TV it would have been unintentional.
His comments to the station echoed a statement the senator previously issued in which he noted he is a “warm person” who “hug[s] people,” but learned that he “crossed a line for some women.”
Meanwhile, Franken reiterated that he would not resign from his office, saying he has “to regain the trust of people I’ve let down.”
“If you had asked me two weeks ago, ‘Would any woman come forward with an allegation like this?’ I would have said no. So I cannot speculate,” he said at his news conference. “This has been a shock and it’s been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed. What I’m going to do is I’m going to start my job and go back to work.”
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