Al Franken Photographed Groping a Woman. Senator's Response: It 'Was Intended to be Funny'

By Susan Jones | November 16, 2017 | 11:21am EST
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) sits on the Judiciary Committee. (Photo: Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on a Los Angeles talk-radio station, on Thursday accused comedian Al Franken of groping and kissing her against her will in 2006, two years before Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Her story, posted on the 790 KABC website, includes a photograph of Franken appearing to put his hands on her breasts while she was asleep on a military transport plane.

The alleged assault took place during a December 2006 USO Tour in Afghanistan, where Franken, of "Saturday Night Live" fame, was the headline act.

As part of the act, Tweeden wrote, Franken included a skit that included him kissing her, and she says he insisted that they rehearse the kiss backstage, over her objections.

"You forcibly kissed me without my consent," she wrote. Afterwards, she said, "I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I was never alone with him again for the rest of the tour. Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops."

And when Tweeden returned home, she said she found a photograph of Franken grabbing her breasts over her flak jacket as she slept on the military plane.

"It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one," she said -- showing the photograph in her article. "I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep."

Tweeden said she decided her story is worth telling now -- "Not just because 2017 is not 2006, or because I am much more secure in my career now than I was then, and not because I’m still angry.

"I’m telling my story because there may be others," she wrote. "I want the days of silence to be over forever."

Franken, responding to The Daily Beast, was quoted as saying: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

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