Franken says he ‘let a lot of people down’ in wake of sexual allegations

In this July 12, 2017, file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. Two women are alleging, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, that Franken touched their buttocks during events for his first campaign for Senate. The women spoke to Huffington Post on condition of anonymity. The women said the events were in Minneapolis in 2007 and 2008. Franken said in a statement, "It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and accusations he groped women (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken says he knows he “let a lot of people down” – the people of Minnesota, colleagues and staff – in the face of sexually inappropriate behavior. He’s vowing to regain their trust.

Speaking outside his Senate office, Franken told reporters on Monday that many people counted on him to be a champion for women. Instead, he is embarrassed and is apologizing after one woman alleges Franken forcibly kissed her on a USO tour and took a sexually suggestive photo while she was sleeping.

Three other women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks while posing with them for photos during separate campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Franken dismissed any talk of resigning from the Senate. He said he would cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation.

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12:05 p.m.

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken says it’s too early to decide whether he’ll run for a third term in 2020.

Three women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks during campaign events; a fourth woman says Franken forcibly kissed her during a 2006 USO tour.

Franken tells The Associated Press that he’s focused on returning to work on Monday and that he’ll work to regain voters’ trust. Franken initially avoided the public eye when allegations first surfaced earlier this month.

Franken still disputes Leeann Tweeden’s account of a forced kiss, calling it a “normal rehearsal” for a skit the two were performing. And he says he never intentionally grabbed or squeezed a woman’s buttocks.

But he says he’s taking responsibility and says it’s important “that we listen to women.”

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