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Second Al Franken accuser on why she went public with her story

ABC News
ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Lindsay Menz, who has accused Sen. Al Franken of groping her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, is speaking out about the alleged incident for the first time on camera this morning.

“My husband steps away from us to take the photo. I stand next to Sen. Franken and he pulls me into him and then he moves his hand to my butt,” Menz, 33, told ABC News’ chief national correspondent Tom Llamas. “I was shocked.”

She added, “I was surprised and kind of wondering, did that really just happen?”

Franken released a new statement on Thursday after reports multiple women recalled similar incidents as Menz, saying, “I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.

“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that,” Franken continued. “I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.”

Menz’s claim came just days after Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006.

In a Nov. 16 blog post, Tweeden claimed that Franken, then a comedian, “forcibly kissed me without my consent” while rehearsing for a skit on a 2006 USO tour to entertain U.S. troops in Afghanistan. She also posted a photo in which she claims it shows Franken groping her while she was asleep on a military plane.

Franken, who was elected as a Democratic senator for Minnesota in 2008, responded to the accusations in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“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.

As a guest on ABC’s “The View” on Nov. 17, Tweeden shared a letter she said Franken sent her that day:

“It says, ‘Dear Leeann, I want to apologize to you personally. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo. I remember that rehearsal differently. But what’s important is the impact on you and you felt violated by my actions, and for that I apologize. I have tremendous respect for your work for the USO. And I am ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you. I am so sorry. Sincerely, Al Franken.’”

According to Tweeden, Franken also asked to meet with her personally.

Menz told ABC News she wanted to speak publicly about her own alleged experience with Franken so that people believe Tweeden’s story and she doesn’t feel alone.

A spokesperson for Franken told ABC News on Monday night that the senator doesn’t plan to resign in light of the second accuser coming forward. The Senate Ethics Committee will investigate the allegations against Franken.

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