Senator Al Franken Will Not Resign After Sex Scandal

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Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota will not be quitting his job after being accused of sexual harassment.

When asked by the Star Tribune if Franken would be resigning his position as a senator, his spokesperson said, "No," the Daily Mail reports. 

Franken, who got his start as a writer and performer on "Saturday Night Live," was accused of fondling and kissing former Playboy model Leeann Tweeden without her permission during a USO tour in 2006.  

"He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday," the spokesperson added. "And he's doing a lot of reflecting." 

The alleged incident with Franken is explained in detail by Tweeden on the website for KABC, a station in Los Angeles where she serves as a news anchor.

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"In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks," she writes. "Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience."

She expected to be only an emcee who introduced the acts, but Franken incorporated her into a skit which required her to kiss him, and insisted that they rehearse it, she said.

"We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth … I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth. I felt disgusted and violated."

As for the fondling accusation, she supplied evidence in the form of a photo which shows Franken with his hands on her breasts while she slept on the flight back to the U.S.

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"I couldn't believe it," she said, regarding her reaction to seeing the photo. "He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny."

Following Tweeden's allegations, and Franken's subsequent apology, an alleged quote from the photographer circulated online, claiming that the groping photo was staged as a gag, and that Tweeden was in on the joke.

The photographer allegedly said: "[S]he was playing dead and SHE wanted him to 'revive' her. I took the picture it was a funny moment everyone was smiling having a good time. Leeann Tweeden is a Trump supporter."

However, the quote has been declared a fake by the website Snopes. 

The fact-checking site notes that the photographer's identity is unknown, and that the alleged quote "was made up out of the whole cloth in an apparent attempt to discredit Tweeden and her account."

Sources: Daily Mail, KABC, Snopes / Featured Image: Pcf Michael Noggle via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Leeann Tweeden/KABC via Daily Mail, Getty Images via Daily Mail

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