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Franken Says He’ll Make Amends for Harassment Allegations

“I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them,” he tells hometown newspaper

Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., left, and John Kennedy, R-La., are seen in the Senate subway earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., left, and John Kennedy, R-La., are seen in the Senate subway earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he intends to return to the Senate on Monday and hopes to make amends after reports of sexual harassment and assault.

“I’ve let a lot of people down, and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor lawmaker said he hoped his experiences and Ethics Committee investigation can be “a positive contribution to the conversation, so I can be a better public servant and a better man.”

Franken also said a photo that revealed him grabbing the chest of  radio host Leann Tweeden from 2006 and her revelation he forcibly kissed her was “inexcusable.”

Since Tweeden’s allegations went public, several other women have accused the senator of touching them inappropriately.

But Franken did not apologize for behavior he said he did not remember.  

“I don’t remember these photographs, I don’t,” he said. 

Franken told the newspaper he had spent the past week “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.”

But when Franken was asked if other women would come forward, he said “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.”

Lindsay Menz told CNN that Franken grabbed her backside at a state fair photo in 2010.After Menz came forward, two other women anonymously told their story to the Huffington Post about incidents in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

“Some women found my greeting or my embrace or hug for a photo inappropriate and I respect their feelings about that,” he said. “In recent days, I’ve 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. I feel terrible that women have felt bad and I’m very sorry for that.”

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