Al Franken claims he is embarrassed and ashamed by sexual misconduct claims but won't step down

Monday, 27 November 2017, 05:28:27 AM. The Minnesota senator was accused of misconduct by four women.

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Minnesota Senator Al Franken has said he has been left “embarrassed and ashamed” by the allegations of sexual misconduct against him – but it appears he will not be resigning.

Speaking in an interview with The Star Tribune on Sunday, Franken, who is facing accusations ranging from groping to forcibly kissing four women, said he had been caught by surprise by the allegations and would be “more careful and more sensitive” in the future.

The Democrat senator, who had previously been known for highlighting women’s issues, has maintained a low profile since the allegations emerged but is now speaking out about the accusations and said he was looking forward to returning to work after the Thanksgiving break.

Al Franken Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) listens during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing titled 'Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online' on Capitol Hill, October 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"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 Tribune in a phone interview on Sunday.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow," he added.

Among the allegations made against the senator was one from radio host Leeann Tweeden, who said Franken had forcibly kissed her while the pair were on a USO tour in 2006, and Lindsay Menz said Franken had groped her buttocks while the pair posed for a picture together in 2010; with two other women reporting similar allegations to the Huffington Post anonymously.

"I don't remember these photographs, I don't," he said of the buttock-grabbing allegation. "This is not something I would intentionally do."

The senator explained he had been: "thinking about how that could happen and I just recognize that I need to be more careful and a lot more sensitive in these situations."

However, Franken did not rule out any further allegations against him from emerging, stating: "If you had asked me two weeks ago, 'Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?' I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise... I certainly hope not."

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