A former Democratic congressional aide on Wednesday accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after a taping of his radio show, joining several other women who have accused the Minnesota senator of sexual misconduct.
The alleged incident took place two years before Franken was elected to the Senate.
The former aide told Politico that she was at a taping of Franken’s radio show and was about to follow her boss out of the room when Franken came after her. She said that when she turned around, Franken was in her face, and she said that she had to duck to avoid him.
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” she told Politico. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door.”
The former aide said that as she left, Franken told her, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” She told Politico that she did not respond to Franken.
Franken denied the allegation in a statement to Politico.
“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said.
Two former colleagues of the former Democratic aide said that she told them about the incident and confirmed her account to Politico.
The former aide told Politico that she started talking about the incident more after the the infamous Trump “Access Hollywood” tape was released last year.
“When it really started impacting me in more of a ‘I’m really angry about about this’ way was last fall when the Trump tape came out,” she told Politico. “Hearing Donald Trump say essentially the same thing that Al Franken said to me, which was ‘It’s my right as an entertainer,’ that was a real trigger.”
Several women have accused Franken of sexual misconduct after Los Angeles news host Leeann Tweeden became the first woman to come forward with allegations. She said that Franken forcibly kissed her while the two were abroad entertaining the troops and shared a photo of Franken reaching out to grab her breasts. Several other women have since accused Franken of grabbing their butts at photo-ops or events.
Franken has apologized for his behavior, but was unable to categorically deny that he has grabbed a woman’s butt. He said that he remember’s the encounter with Tweeden differently, but he said that he will cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee probe.
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