Al Franken on the sexual misconduct claims against him: 'I feel ashamed'

Al Franken

Senator Al Franken, back at the Capitol for the first time since groping accusations emerged almost two weeks ago, gave no indication on Monday that his political career was in peril, telling reporters that he would work to try to regain the trust of women, voters and his colleagues.

And the senator made clear he has no plans to resign. I'm going to work to regain people's trust. "I am going to be accountable".

It was Franken's first television interview since stories about the allegations broke.

Franken has tried to walk a middle ground on allegations by Tweeden and other women who say he grabbed their buttocks while they posed for photographs after he became senator.

"I know there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust and I know that is going to take time", Franken said.

"There are some women - and one is too many - who feel that I have done something disrespectful", he said.

"I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive", he said.

"I'm going to go back to work, and work as hard as I can for the people of Minnesota", Franken said as he concluded his news conference, "and I'm going to start that right now".

The accusations began on November 16, when Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden-who was with Franken in 2006 entertaining troops stationed overseas for a USO show-released a photograph that appeared to show Franken grabbing her breasts while she was asleep and wearing protective military gear.

Franken has been accused of groping several women, as well as forcibly kissing and groping a morning news anchor for a Los Angeles radio station when the two participated in a USO tour in 2006 while Franken still worked as a comedian.

The two allege that Franken touched their bottoms during events for his first campaign for Senate.

Franken on Monday publicly spoke to reporters in Washington, D.C., and apologized over the Thanksgiving holiday.

In an exclusive on-camera interview Sunday with WCCO's Esme Murphy, Franken offered up blanket claims of contrition and embarrassment throughout, though the 66-year-old Democrat rhetorically tap-danced around specifics. "So, you know, I don't know".

She claims she was left "disgusted and violated" when Franken aggressively kissed her during a rehearsal for a skit. "And so I apologized to her [Tweeden] and I meant it, and I was, you know, very grateful that she accepted it".

Menz accused Franken of groping her while posing for a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. "What matters is that I am chained to that photo", Franken said. Franken has denied propositioning a woman to go to the bathroom and said it was "difficult to respond to anonymous accusers".

He told the Star Tribune of Minnesota on Sunday that he was "ashamed and embarrassed" by his actions but wouldn't resign. In crowded chaotic situations, I can't say I haven't done that.

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