Al Franken Sidesteps Accusations, Says 'I Hug People'

Minnesota Senator Al Franken addressed more accusations of sexual misconduct Friday, writing in a new statement that he is a "warm person," and "I hug people."

"I've met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I'm a warm person; I hug people," Franken said in a new statement to the Star-Tribune on Thanksgiving. "I've learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many."

Franken continued, "Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I've thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations."

The former Saturday Night Live writer added that he feels "terribly" about making "some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again."

"And let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust," he continued.

Franken's latest statement came after two women accused Franken of inappropriately touching their buttocks during photo ops in 2007 and 2008. The women spoke to the HuffPost anonymously on Tuesday.

"It's difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don't remember those campaign events," Franken said in a statement to the HuffPost.

The two women are the third and fourth women to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct. On Nov. 16, Leann Tweeden accused Franken of kissing her and touching her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour, before he ran for public office. On Monday, Lindsay Menz accused Franken of groping her at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.

After Tweeden came forward with her story, the Senate opened an ethics investigation into Franken's behavior.

The Star-Tribune reports that Franken plans on speaking to the media on Sunday.


Photo credit: Senator Al Franken / Facebook