Senate Democrats call for ethics investigation into allegations against Sen

Tweeden said that after the incident, she avoided being alone with Franken for the rest of the USO tour but that he tried to "belittle" her.

"I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday", Tweeden said.

A Los Angeles radio host accused Senator Al Franken, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, of kissing and groping her during a 2006 USO tour in the Middle East. Even if some of Tweeden's allegations were rebuttable, the photo she released of a leering Franken placing his hands on her breasts as she slept on the military transport plane at the end of the tour is probably a career-ender for him.

After an initial statement in which Franken apologized and said the photo showing him groping Tweeden was "intended to be amusing", the senator releases a second, longer statement apologizing and acquiescing to the calls for an ethics investigation.

Leeann Tweeden says the two incidents happened in December 2006 on a tour to entertain United States troops overseas, before Mr Franken entered politics.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Ethics Committee should review complaints against Democratic Sen. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter.

Franken apologized Thursday but says he remembers the skit rehearsal differently, per the Hill.

"This is happening to women who have no power and no way to speak up", she said at a press conference. "He groped me without my consent while I was asleep", she said.

Tweeden is the daughter of a service member, and she says that she's passionate about the troops and their mission overseas.

Mr Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer, apologised for the grope. "It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate", he said.

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"The apology, sure, I accept it. People make mistakes, of course he knew he made a mistake. Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct, and I believe there should be an ethics investigation". Franken is shown standing over her, appearing to be groping her chest.

"I'm telling my story because there may be others", she said.

"The first thing I want to do it apologize; the Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women", he said.

Democrats throughout the morning weighed in with disappointment toward Franken and calls for an Ethics Committee investigation.

Tweeden credited Congresswoman Jackie Speier's (D-California) account of being assaulted when she was a young Congressional aide as inspiration to come forward.

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  • Theresa Obrien