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LA Radio Personality Releases Photo Of Senator Al Franken Groping Her On USO Tour

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) -- The Los Angeles radio anchor who accused Democratic Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour says she accepts his apology but he could have apologized earlier.

Anchor Leeann Tweeden made the allegation and also posted a photo of Franken with his hands on her breasts while she slept as part of an essay on the website of radio station KABC, where she anchors a morning talk show.

Leeann Tweeden
Leeann Tweeden held a news conference Thursday.

In the essay, entitled "Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There's Nothing Funny About It", Tweeden says Franken wrote a skit for the pair during a 2006 USO tour to the Middle East and insisted they practice a kiss during rehearsal.

"We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth," Tweeden wrote. "I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn't be so nice about it the next time."

Tweeden says it wasn't until the USO tour was over that she discovered the photo of Franken groping her in her sleep.

Franken
Leeann Tweeden released this photo which show Sen. Al Franken groping her while she slept during a USO tour in 2006. (Courtesy photo)

She wrote: "I couldn't believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny?"

Franken released a statement Thursday morning apologizing to Tweeden for the alleged kiss and the photo.

"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 in a statement to CBS News.

Hours later, he issued another statement with a fuller apology, adding he doesn't "know what was in my head" when the picture was taken but says there's no excuse. He says he'll cooperate with an ethics investigation.

During a news conference Thursday, Tweeden said Franken had been persistent and stuck his tongue in her mouth.

She says she has no reason not to accept his apology. She says people make mistakes.

She isn't calling for an ethics investigation or for the Minnesota senator to step down, but says she came forward hoping to inspire others to tell their stories.

Later Thursday, an interview from 1995 surfaced, in which he joked about an SNL sketch that included journalist Lesley Stahl getting drugged and raped.

The U.S. senator from Minnesota last month strongly condemned Harvey Weinstein as allegations began to mount against the Hollywood mogul, saying, "The women who have shared their stories about Harvey Weinstein over the last few days are incredibly brave...And as we hear more and more about Mr. Weinstein, it's important to remember that while his behavior was appalling, it's far too common."

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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