(ABC News) Democratic Sen. Al Franken engaged in his first interview since allegations surfaced of his forcibly kissing one woman before he was a senator and groping different women.
“I'm embarrassed and ashamed. I've let a lot of people down and I'm hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust," the Minnesota senator told the Star Tribune newspaper in his home state for an article posted Sunday.
Franken said he has posed for "tens of thousands of photos" over the years and does not remember any that ended with his hand sliding down to cup women's backsides, as several women have alleged.
"I don't remember these photographs, I don't," he said. "This is not something I would intentionally do."
Franken said he has spent the past week "thinking about how that could happen and I just recognize that I need to be more careful and a lot more sensitive in these situations."
"I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow," the senator said in the phone interview.
Franken has also responded in written statements to the allegations of groping and to an allegation that when he was still a comedian in 2006 he forcibly kissed a fellow performer on a USO tour.
In a Nov. 16 blog post, Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden claimed that Franken “forcibly kissed me without my consent” while rehearsing for a skit on the USO tour to entertain U.S. troops in Afghanistan. She also posted a photo in which she claims it shows Franken groping her while she was asleep on a military plane.
Franken, who was elected as a Democratic senator for Minnesota in 2008, responded to the accusations in a statement obtained by ABC News.
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it,” he said.
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