Franken says he’s ‘ashamed’ by allegations, will return to work Monday

Greg Nash

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said in a new interview that he’s “embarrassed and ashamed” by the accusations of sexual misconduct that have been made against him this month.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” Franken told the Star-Tribune in a Sunday phone interview.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow,” Franken said.

In the interview with the newspaper, the Minnesota lawmaker maintained that he does not recall incidents in which women said he touched them inappropriately during photo ops.

{mosads}“I don’t remember these photographs, I don’t,” Franken told the paper. “This is not something I would intentionally do.” 

In a separate interview with MPR News on Sunday, Franken said he hopes “to be a better man.”

But the news outlet noted that Franken was unable to say whether or not additional accusations may come to light.

“This has been a shock to me,” Franken told MPR.

Three women have come forward claiming Franken inappropriately touched them during photo ops after radio host Leeann Tweeden said Franken forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a sketch during a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden also posted a photo of Franken appearing to grab her breasts while she slept.

Franken called the photo “inexcusable.”

The incident with Tweeden occurred before Franken was a senator, while two of the other women said Franken groped them while he was running in his first Senate campaign. Another woman said Franken touched her inappropriately in 2010, when he was already elected to the upper chamber.

Franken on Thanksgiving issued an apology in which he vowed to regain the trust of his constituents.

“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again,” he said.

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