Female ex-Franken staffers: 'He treated us with the utmost respect'

A group of seven female former staffers for Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Minn.) are defending their ex-boss in a statement as he tries to weather the backlash the day after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

"Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington. In our time working for the senator, he treated us with the utmost respect," the group said in a Friday statement. 

"He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women in both the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our offices," they continued. 

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The statement was signed Katherine Blauvelt, Alexandra Fetissoff, Jessi Held, Natalie Violin Lehr, Karen Saxe, Charlotte Slaiman and Bethany Snider.  

The statement comes a day after radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of aggressively kissing her and of groping her without her consent while she was asleep, providing a photo as evidence.

Franken called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior, and apologized for the incident. 

“I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” Franken said. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

The revelation comes as alleged victims across the country have come forward to accuse men in prominent positions in various industries of sexual misconduct. 

The accused include movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey. 

Alabama Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoy Moore loses lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race Of inmates and asylums: Today's House Republicans make the John Birchers look quaint MORE has also been accused by numerous women of sexual misconduct, including one who says she was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident.