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2nd LD Writethru: U.S. Senator Al Franken announces resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations

Xinhua,December 08, 2017 Adjust font size:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Democratic Senator Al Franken announced on Thursday that he will resign from the U.S. Senate in coming weeks amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations.

"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator - nothing - has brought dishonor on this institution," Franken said from the Senate floor before announcing his intention to step down.

At least eight women have accused the Minnesota Democrat of inappropriately touching them since a Los Angeles radio anchor alleged last month Franken forcibly kissing her in 2006, an account that the Senate Ethics Committee is investigating him over.

Despite his decision to quit, Franken, who has repeatedly apologized for behavior that he said "crossed a line" for some women, used his 11-minute speech to defend himself.

"Some of the allegations against me are simply not true," Franken said. "Others I remember quite differently."

The two-term senator who had originally sought to stay in the Senate said that he could not manage to cooperate with the investigation while fully fulfilling his duties to his constituents.

Franken's announcement also came after dozens of his Democratic Senate colleagues called upon him to resign.

"I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a statement on Wednesday.

The former "Saturday Night Live" comedian, Franken had been viewed as a serious lawmaker in recent years and has even included in talks about the 2020 presidential campaign.

Franken is the latest U.S. politician that has been accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Michigan Democrat John Conyers announced his resignation amid claims of sexual harassment made by his congressional aides.

Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is facing several accusations of sexual misconduct, including one in which Moore was accused of molesting a 14-year-old teenage girl while he was in his 30s.

Following Franken's resignation, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is expected to name a temporary replacement. A special election next year will decide who's going to serve through the end of Franken's term in January 2021. Enditem