Senator Al Franken Resigning Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Senator Al Franken Resigning Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says he'll resign in the coming weeks. He's repeatedly apologized as several women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior, and as his support from fellow Democrats evaporated.

The Minnesota lawmaker took to the Senate floor to say, "I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice." He says he'll addressing issues as an activist.

Franken says he can't go through a Senate Ethics Committee investigation and effectively represent his state at the same time.

In remarks that lasted 11 minutes, he said that, thanks to his family, "I'm going to be just fine."

He says some charges against him are untrue and that he remembers other differently than his accusers do. But he says women "deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously."

Franken was under intense pressure to step down as allegations of sexual misconduct have mounted, with at least eight women accusing him of acting inappropriately.

The senator's support among fellow Democrats crumbled on Wednesday after a woman accused Franken of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Hours later another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed "a handful of flesh" on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009.

That brought the number of women alleging misconduct by Franken to at least eight.

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) released the following statement:

“I am extremely disappointed in Senator Franken. The experiences shared by the brave women who have come forward show a disturbing pattern of behavior. 

“Throughout my career as a prosecutor and Nevada’s Attorney General, I’ve stood up to support survivors of sexual violence and misconduct. My time working with these survivors has shown me that the epidemic of sexual harassment and sexual assault is bigger than one Senator and that the culture of the United States Congress must change. That begins with reforming the Ethics process to clearly set the highest standards of conduct for Members of Congress and to enforce severe sanctions for Members and staff that engage in this inappropriate conduct. The United States Senate must undertake a comprehensive effort to conduct the ethics process in an open, swift, and thorough manner. 

“This revised process must restore the faith of the American people in this institution. I am working with my colleagues on the Rules Committee on bipartisan solutions to fix this broken and outdated process. We must stop using taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment claims. We must create an environment where every woman or man feels empowered to come forward. We must reform the Senate’s outdated rules and practices to reflect a higher standard of conduct for Members and staff, and protect the survivors that break their silence.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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