Franken accusers disappointed with his defense

Senator dismisses accusations in speech


Leeann Tweeden

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the wake of Democratic Sen. Al Franken's resignation, some of his accusers of sexual misconduct told CNN they are disappointed with his defense of the allegations, saying he shouldn't have continued to dismiss them.

Leeann Tweeden, the California radio morning show anchor who accused Franken of forcibly kissing her and groping her, said she is not celebrating Franken's resignation.

"I'm not celebrating his resignation. It's a lose-lose situation," she said in a phone call with CNN. "I'm not celebrating his resignation but we also can't tolerate hypocrisy. We can't have our leaders saying one thing and doing another."

Asked about Franken's remarks that some of the allegations leveled against him are "simply not true," Tweeden said: "Can you say seven other women are liars and possibly more? I mean, that's between those women and God, who's lying. He's the one stepping down."

Tweeden said she carried Franken's speech on her show. She said she doesn't regret sharing her story.

"I don't regret coming out but I've thought about it a few times -- what if I'd stayed quiet?" she said. "Can't put that genie back in the bottle. I doubt I'll be hearing from them."

And she wasn't the only one. Lindsay Menz, a woman who told CNN that Franken groped her buttocks at a Minnesota State Fair in 2010, told CNN on Thursday she was "a little disappointed" by Franken's statement on the Senate floor.

Menz, reached on the phone, said, "I guess I'm a little disappointed by his statement. Just that he would continue to dismiss and put the allegations down."

On Franken's statement that some of the allegations are "simply not true," Menz said she wonders if he was talking about her. "I just feel bad that this is our culture. I feel bad that we've allowed men to behave this way."

Menz said she watched his entire speech on CNN. She said she feels badly that he is resigning: "I feel sad that he has to leave a job he's passionate about."

Stephanie Kemplin, who in a CNN report accused Franken of groping her during a photo-op in December 2003, said she was disappointed with his remarks as well because he didn't apologize or acknowledge the accusations as truth.

"It's very hurtful," she told HLN's Carol Costello on "Across America" after Franken resigned. "He's taking no ownership and I just feel that he's calling all of us liars."

She said that if there had been an ethics investigation into allegations against Franken, she would have been willing to testify under oath.

"Absolutely. Absolutely," she said. "Because my story will never change. Because it's the truth. It is the truth. And I would have had no problem. I was waiting for the subpoena."

Franken announced Thursday he is resigning following allegations that he touched women inappropriately.

"I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate," Franken said in an emotional address on the Senate floor, where he said some of the allegations against him weren't true.

Franken, who did not apologize during his speech, called out President Donald Trump, who was repeatedly accused of sexual assault during his presidential campaign, and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations that he pursued relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s. Both Trump and Moore have denied the allegations.

This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.

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