MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A day after a Los Angeles radio personality accused Senator Al Franken sexual harassment, there are new calls for him to resign. At the same time, former staffers are stepping forward to defend Franken.
On Thursday, Senator Al Franken was accused of sexually assaulting KABC radio host Leeann Tweeden.
Tweeden revealed Thursday that she was kissed without consent during a skit rehearsal and later groped while asleep during a 2006 USO Tour. Franken previously issued a brief statement that he didn't "remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way."
Franken issued a response to the sexual assault allegations. Several Democratic candidates for governor called for Franken’s resignation. On Friday, there were no signs of Senator Franken in the Twin Cities. His office has not commented any further on the allegations.
Tweeden, Franken’s accuser, has remained in the public eye since making the allegations. In a television appearance, the radio host disclosed that Franken had sent a personal letter of apology expressing shame and regretting that his actions during the 2006 USO Tour were hurtful.
“I was shocked… certainly by that photo," Governor Mark Dayton, Franken’s fellow Democrat, said.
Dayton believes a Senate ethics committee investigation is the best way to handle the issue. Franken has said he will gladly cooperate with the investigation.
Political fallout for Franken continued on Friday. Abby Honold, a University of Minnesota rape victim who crafted legislation for victims of trauma with the senator announced she wants a new sponsor in light of the allegations.
“The legislation is far too important to be bogged down with any of this," said Honold. "I know how much support it has and know how many victims were counting on this legislation. So I am committed to still getting it thru in a timely manner."
Franken’s former staffers also issued a statement on Friday in response to questions about the climate of Franken’s Senate and campaign workplaces as well as the senator’s conduct with female staffers. They said, “He treated us with the utmost respect.”