Al Franken doesn't know if more groping allegations will come out

Franken says he didn't anticipate the current accusations and doesn't know if more women will come forward

Published November 27, 2017 9:25AM (EST)

Al Franken (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Al Franken (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is clinging to his seat even as he admits that there may be more groping allegations against him in the future.

When asked by a Minnesota TV station over the weekend whether he had ever inappropriately put his hand on "some woman's butt," Franken replied, "In crowded, chaotic situations, I can't say I haven't done that."

He added, "I am very sorry if these women experienced that."

Speaking to a number of Minnesota media outlets on Sunday, Franken emphasized that he was "embarrassed and ashamed" as a result of the accusations against him, although he also claimed to not remember the alleged incidents in which he groped women. Three accused him of grabbing their buttocks at events between 2007 and 2010, while a fourth (newscaster Leeann Tweeden), shared a photograph that appeared to show him groping her breasts while she was sleeping.

"I take photographs at the State Fair with thousands of people," Franken told Minnesota Public Radio. Yet despite not remembering the alleged incidents, he added that "we have to listen to women and respect what they say."

Franken also said, "I’m someone who, you know, hugs people. I’ve learned from these stories that in some of these encounters I have crossed the line for some women."

Perhaps the most telling moment was when interviewer Cathy Wurzer asked Franken if any other women would come forward with accusations against him.

"If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say that I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her in one of these ways I would have said 'no.' So, you know, I don’t know. I can’t say," Franken said.

The Minnesotan has been saying in interviews as far back as last week that he does not plan on resigning from his Senate seat, despite calls from many on the left that he do so. Instead, he has said that he hopes to rebuild the trust that he has lost from Minnesota voters as a result of the accusations against him.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Al Franken Groping Leeann Tweeden Sexual Misconduct