Al Franken denies new accusation he tried to force a kiss

A new accuser against Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, has stepped forward with allegations that the lawmaker attempted to forcibly kiss her, according to a report by Politico. The alleged incident occurred after a taping of Franken's radio show in 2006, before he was elected into the Senate. 

Politico reports that the former Democratic congressional aide, whose name is being withheld, said Franken had pursued her at the studio as she was leaving the room. She says that when she turned around Franken was "in her face."

"He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like 'Wait, what is happening?' But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked," the woman, who did not work for Franken, said in an interview with Politico. 

The accuser claims that she ducked to avoid the encounter with Franken, but as she left the former "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer made a comment she remembers.

"I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, 'It's my right as an entertainer,'" she described.

In a statement to CBS News on Wednesday, Franken flatly denied the latest allegation against him. 

"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation," Franken said.

The aide's claim follows several other allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the lawmaker. Last week, an Army veteran accused Franken of inappropriate touching while she was on deployment and he was appearing on a USO tour in 2003. 

Television host, sports broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden first came forward with a similar claim last month, saying that Franken "kissed and groped" her without consent while entertaining troops on a USO Tour in December 2006. Franken issued a public apology to Tweeden, which she accepted.

Days later, a second woman accused Franken of groping her during a photo-op. Lindsay Menz, 33, told CNN that in 2010, she and her husband and father attended the Minnesota State Fair. During the event, she said that her husband took a photo of her with the Democratic senator. She said that he "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear." 

In a separate story published by the Huffington Post, two more women alleged that Franken touched their buttocks during campaign events in 2007 and 2008.

Franken told the Minnesota Star Tribune that while he did not recall the campaign photographs in question, noting that he's taken "tens of thousands of photos" throughout the years, it was "not something I would intentionally do."

In his first public appearance on Capitol Hill since the allegations emerged, shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, Franken vowed to continue his role in the Senate, but acknowledged he "let a lot of people down."

"I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust, I know that takes time," he said.

The Senate Ethics Committee has opened a preliminary investigation into his conduct. Franken said he will fully cooperate.

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital