Al Franken Accused of Forcibly Kissing and Groping News Anchor

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Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor for Los Angeles radio station KABC, accused Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) on Thursday of forcibly kissing and groping her during a 2006 United Service Organizations tour—two years before Franken was elected to the Senate.

In a blog post published to KABC's website, Tweeden alleged that Franken wrote a kiss with her into one of his skits, pressured her to rehearse the scene ahead of time, and, during the rehearsal, "put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth." The post also included a picture of Franken groping Tweeden while she slept on a cargo plane bound for the United States at the end of the two-week USO tour.

"You knew exactly what you were doing," Tweeden wrote. "You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed."

Franken issued an apology on Thursday, and called for an ethics investigation into his actions; in the same statement, he also said that his memory of the rehearsal does not match Tweeden's.

"There's more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it's the only thing you care to hear, that's fine—is: I'm sorry," Franken said in a statement. "While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen and believe women's experiences."

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