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Flashback: Al Franken Joked About Photographing Unconscious Lesley Stahl in ‘Various Positions’

Dennis Cook/AP Photo, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) once discussed a skit idea he had for Saturday Night Live (SNL) that included slipping “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl pills and taking pictures of her while she is unconscious.

A 1995 New York magazine profile of Saturday Night Live described how Franken was “among a group of show writers sounding out a possible parody of Andy Rooney centered on a sedative pill bottle found in the “60 Minutes” essayist’s desk. Franken and fellow writers Norm MacDonald and Jim Downey kick around fictional Rooney responses to the discovery of the bottle.”

Franken allegedly put an edgier twist on the conversation, saying in an Andy Rooney voice, “And ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.”

At the time, Minnesota state Rep. Laura Brod said that the SNL quotes, combined with Franken’s Playboy column, reveals “a pattern of behavior which is not suitable for a U.S. senator.”

In 2000, Franken wrote a column for Playboy called, “called ‘Porn-O-Rama!’ in which the former Saturday Night Live comedian wrote about visiting a made-up sex institute where he takes part in sexual acts with humans and machines.”

Franken’s lewd humor faced public scrutiny when journalist Leann Tweeden accused Sen. Franken of fondling her while she was asleep and shoving his tongue down her throat without her consent in 2006 when they were both participating in a United Service Organization (USO) tour to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Franken initially apologized for the photo that depicts him attempting to fondle Tweeden, claiming that “it was clearly intended to be funny.”

According to reports, the USO claimed on Thursday that Sen. Al Franken’s brother was the photographer that took the photo of Sen. Franken attempting to grope Tweeden’s breasts while she was asleep.

Sen. Franken released two separate statements apologizing for his indecent actions towards Tweeden. On Friday, a second woman came forward to accuse the Minnesota senator of sexual harassment.


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