Al Franken faces new allegation of unwanted touching
Minnesota woman says Franken 'tightly' grabbed her buttocks as photo taken at state fair in 2010
A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of improper conduct, saying he put his hand on her buttocks as they posed for a picture at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 — after he had begun his career in the Senate.
Lindsay Menz told CNN last week for a report broadcast Monday that the interaction made her feel "gross." She said she immediately told her husband that Franken had "grabbed" her buttocks, and she said she posted about it on Facebook.
Menz's allegation comes days after a Los Angeles broadcaster, Leeann Tweeden, accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour. The Menz allegation is potentially more damaging for Franken because it would be behaviour that occurred while he was in office.
Franken, a Democrat, told CNN he didn't remember taking the photo with Menz, but said in a statement to the network that he feels badly that she felt disrespected.
"I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture," Franken told CNN. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell renewed his call for the chamber's ethics committee to investigate Franken. Franken, 66, said last week after the Tweeden allegations came to light that he would co-operate with an inquiry.
Menz, 33, who now lives in Frisco, Texas, said her father's business was sponsoring a radio booth at the Minnesota fair and that she took photos with several elected officials and political candidates as they stopped at the booth.
She said as she posed with Franken, he "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear," Menz said. "It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek."
Award show edited
Menz said she told her husband, Jeremy Menz, and father Mark Brown about it right away. Both men affirmed that to CNN. Menz also said she posted the photo with Franken on Facebook on Aug. 27, and when her sister commented on the photo, she replied: "Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!"
The AP was not able to immediately view her account to verify the post.
Tweeden said last week that the Democratic senator reached out to personally apologize to her and that she wasn't demanding Franken lose his job.
"Yes, people make mistakes and, of course, he knew he made a mistake," she said.
Separately, PBS has said that Franken will not appear substantially in David Letterman's Mark Twain Prize special airing Monday night.
Representatives said Sunday that PBS will air an updated version of the previously filmed event in which Franken will only be visible at the end of the show when the cast joins Letterman on stage.
PBS said that the inclusion of Franken in the broadcast would distract from the show's purpose as a celebration of American humour.