AP NEWS

Sen. Al Franken sent me personal apology letter, Leeann Tweeden says

November 17, 2017 GMT

The woman who reported that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped at her without permission in 2006 said Friday that he has sent her a personal letter of apology.

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio personality, appeared on the syndicated talk show The View on Friday morning where she read from what she said was a personal letter from Franken, a Minnesota Democrat.

andthinsp;Theres no excuse and I understand why you would feel violated by that photo,andthinsp; Tweeden said Franken wrote to her, in reference to a photograph from a USO tour they both went on that showed Franken reaching at Tweedens chest. She said he also forced a kiss on her while they were rehearsing a comedy skit.

Tweedens account, and Frankens ensuing public apology and request to be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee, riveted Washington on Thursday. It has thrown Frankens political future in question, with several DFL candidates for governor in Minnesota calling on him to resign from office. No Republican U.S. senators have called on Franken to resign, though his colleagues from both parties were critical of his behavior and most got on board with a Senate ethics investigation.

Frankens Washington staff did not immediately respond Friday to requests for information about Frankens next steps, or his current whereabouts. He missed several Senate votes on Thursday.

Fallout for Franken continued on Friday, when a Minnesota woman who was raped by a fellow University of Minnesota student in 2014, said she no longer wants Franken to sponsor legislation she has championed to aid sexual assault survivors. He did get support from a group of eight women who previously worked for him, who released a letter stating that Franken had never mistreated or devalued any of them.

Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington, their statement read. In our time working for the senator, he treated us with the utmost respect. He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our office.

Abby Honold, a rape survivor whose struggle to get justice after being raped in November 2014 drew national attention, said she no longer wants to work with Franken on legislation to aid other survivors.

The bill, which was set to be introduced soon to the Senate, would provide funding to better train law enforcement on how to work with trauma victims. Daniel Drill-Mellum, the man who raped Honold, had worked as an intern in Frankens office.

Its so difficult to see that from someone you know and someone you trust, Honold said. She said shes contacted the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar to see if shell pick up the legislation instead.

Franken, who joined the U.S. Senate in 2009, has been Minnesotas most well-known politician thanks in large part to several stints as a performer and writer on NBCs Saturday Night Live from the late 70s to the mid-90s.

In recent months, Franken had emerged as a vocal critic of President Trump and his administration. Trump himself weighed in Thursday night with several tweets critical of Franken. Trump himself has faced allegations in the past of sexual misconduct by a number of women.

Maya Rao 202-662-7433