Former Republican Minn. governor: Franken should stay in Senate, pending ‘legal determination’

Former Republican Minn. governor: Franken should stay in Senate, pending ‘legal determination’
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Former Minn. Gov. Arne Carlson (R) is arguing that Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP Barbs start to fly ahead of first Democratic debate MORE (D-Minn.) should stay in the Senate “until a legal determination has been made” about the sexual misconduct allegations levied against him.

In a post to his blog, Carlson said on Sunday that “a rush to punishment is totally unacceptable,” and called for due process for Franken.

“Being a victim can be painful but the answer to an injustice cannot be to create another injustice,” Carlson wrote. “I am deeply troubled by the resignation of Al Franken and the complete absence of anything resembling due process.”

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Carlson, who said he would vote for Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE in the 2016 election, served as Minnesota’s governor in the 1990s.

In his blog post, Carlson pointed to a claim, promoted by comedian Tom Arnold, that Republican operative Roger Stone coached Franken’s first accuser, KABC host Leeann Tweeden. 

“The simple fact is that Al Franken has been the Senate’s most effective challenge to Trump and his subordinates,” Carlson writes.

“The possibility of any rigging by Roger Stone and his associates should cause all of us to call for a rescinding of the Franken resignation and a prompt and thorough review of all allegations by the Senate Ethics Committee.”

Tweeden has accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a rehearsal for a USO sketch in 2006. She also revealed a photo that showed Franken appearing to grab her breasts as she slept on a military flight. 

Tweeden has criticized Arnold for "misrepresenting" what happened between her and Franken.

"I came forward because I thought it was time to tell my story," she said in a statement last week. "It is unfortunate that people, including my friend Tom Arnold, are misrepresenting and mischaracterizing my story to further their own agenda. I came forward, told my story, Franken apologized and I accepted it and now I am moving on."

KABC has also said that it did not coordinate with anyone before Tweeden first told her story.

“None of us involved in the decision on when to go public coordinated with any group, campaign or individuals outside of the news industry,” the station said. “We have no political agenda. Leeann’s story is not about keeping secrets, it’s about letting the truth be known.”

Franken said last week that he would resign from the Senate "in the coming weeks" after more than half of the Democratic caucus urged him to step down following numerous sexual misconduct allegations.

This story was updated at 12 p.m.