Democratic Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) issued a statement in response to reporter Leeann Tweeden's account of him groping her in her sleep and kissing her without her consent while on a USO tour in 2006. "I respect women," he said. "I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed."
It was Franken's second statement in response to the allegations Thursday, after he initially told an NBC reporter that he did not remember the incident "in the same way" as Tweeden described it but nonetheless sent his "sincerest apologies to Leeann." Regarding a photo Tweeden provided of him groping her breasts while she was asleep, Franken said it was "clearly intended to be funny but wasn't."
In his second, longer statement, Franken said: "There's no excuse [for the photo]. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself." Franken said he was asking for an ethics investigation into his own conduct, concluding: "What people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward." Read the full statement below. Jeva Lange