Speed Reads

franken files

ABC reporter walks back claim that a Democratic senator dismissed Franken's groping allegations

Update 1:28 p.m. ET: ABC News reporter Mariam Khan, who originally relayed Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (R.I.) supposed response to the allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), walked back her initial characterization of Whitehouse's remarks. "I must clarify: It appears [Whitehouse] made this comment in passing before he was directly asked about the Franken allegations," she wrote. Our original post appears below.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) was accused Thursday of groping reporter Leeann Tweeden as well as kissing her without her consent while the two were entertainers together on a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden, a morning news anchor for KABC news, wrote of the incident Thursday, saying Franken forced a kiss on her while they were rehearsing for a skit and providing a photo of Franken groping her breasts while she was asleep.

While speaking to reporters Thursday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) summarily dismissed Tweeden's allegations. "You guys need to find something more interesting," Whitehouse said, per ABC News' Mariam Khan. Whitehouse was but one of many Democratic senators being asked for reactions to the allegations against their colleague, but where his peers expressed serious concern, Whitehouse was glib.

Franken initially said that he "certainly" didn't remember the kiss "in the same way" that Tweeden did, but offered her his "sincerest apologies." He added that the groping photo was "clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it." He followed up with a longer, more contrite statement, which you can read in full below. Kimberly Alters