Sen. Durbin Wants Ethics Committee Review of Sen. Franken Over Groping Claims

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Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wants the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate fellow U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) after allegations arose Franken inappropriately kissed and groped a woman during a USO tour in 2006.

Leeann Tweeden is now a morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles and posted her story in a lengthy post on the station’s website.  The alleged incidents happened before Franken was elected to the Senate in 2008 and was seated in 2009 following a recount.

Tweeden described the harassment as being part of a script for a USO skit where Franken wrote where he’s supposed to kiss her. She writes that Franken repeatedly insisted they rehearse the kissing scene despite her protests. When she relented, Franken, “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
“Senator Franken, you wrote the script,” Tweeden wrote. “But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”
 
She also included a photo in which Franken appears to grabbing Tweeden’s breast while she’s asleep.
 
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden writes. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”
 
In a short statement, Sen. Durbin says, “There is never an excuse for this behavior—ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.”
 
CNN has reached out to Tweeden and she’s expected to speak Thursday with CNN.  The post does not address whether Franken was reached out to for comment in advance of publishing and includes no comment from Franken or his office.
 
In a statement to reporters, Franken said he doesn’t remember the forced kissing, but said he shouldn’t have conducted his behavior as he did in the photo.  “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
 
 
 
 

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