‘Let a lot of people down’: Sen. Al Franken speaks to press after sex misconduct allegations

MINNESOTA — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says he knows he “let a lot of people down” — the people of Minnesota, colleagues and staff — in the face of sexually inappropriate behavior. He’s vowing to regain their trust.

Speaking outside his Senate office, Franken told reporters on Monday that many people counted on him to be a champion for women. Instead, he is embarrassed and is apologizing after one woman alleges Franken forcibly kissed her on a USO tour and took a sexually suggestive photo while she was sleeping.

Franken dismissed any talk of resigning from the Senate. He said he would cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation.

Three women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks during campaign events; a fourth woman says Franken forcibly kissed her during a 2006 USO tour.

Franken tells The Associated Press that he was focused on returning to work on Monday and that he’ll work to regain voters’ trust. Franken initially avoided the public eye when allegations first surfaced earlier this month.

Franken still disputes Leeann Tweeden’s account of a forced kiss, calling it a “normal rehearsal” for a skit the two were performing. And he says he never intentionally grabbed or squeezed a woman’s buttocks.

But he says he’s taking responsibility and says it’s important “that we listen to women.”

Continuing coverage here.