The USO said that Sen. Al Franken’s brother was their photographer on the 2006 USO tour, during which Franken was photographed reaching to grope a female reporter’s breasts, according to a new report.
Kyle Potter, a reporter for the Associated Press, posted on Thursday that Sen. Franken’s brother was the USO’s photographer for the 2006 tour, citing the USO.
On Thursday, journalist Leann Tweeden released a photo as evidence of Franken groping her while she was sleeping during the tour. She also claimed that Franken had aggressively stuck his tongue into her mouth during a skit rehearsal. Tweeden was on the two week USO tour in December 2006 with then 55-year-old Sen. Franken. She said that after she rebuffed the Senator he was vindictive for the remainder of the tour.
Tweeden recounted that it wasn’t until the end of the tour and she was back in the U.S. that she received “the CD of photos we were given by the photographer” and found the photo of Franken reaching his hands for her chest while she was asleep.
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” wrote Tweeden. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”
In response to Tweeden’s account, Sen. Franken didn’t refute the legitimacy of the photo, saying, “It was clearly meant to be funny but wasn’t.” He claimed he didn’t remember the skit rehearsal the same way.
Potter later tweeted that the USO said it could not confirm who took the individual photo and that Owen Franken claims he did not take that specific photo.
Potter posted that he had reached Owen Franken, who was in Paris, on the phone and that Franken denied taking the photo and defended his brother by saying that the Senator was not actually touching Tweeden’s breasts.
According to Potter, the Senator’s brother called Tweeden’s accusations “unbelievable.”
After Tweeden’s accusation surfaced, journalist Melanie Morgan announced that she too had been harassed by the senator: “Al Franken stalked and harassed me. He scared the living hell out of me. It’s all true.”
Morgan explained a debate over the OMB between herself and Franken when they were two members on a panel for an episode of the ABC late night show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher in 2000. She said Franken came after her following the episode over their debate and, after obtaining her phone number, called several times. She said he only stopped when she threatened to call the police.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana