In a speech delivered from the United States Senate floor Thursday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced he is resigning amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations.

Gov. Mark Dayton must now appoint someone to take Franken's seat until 2018. The seat will be on the ballot in the November 2018 election. The winner will serve out the rest of Franken's term until 2020, when they would once again be up for re-election.

A majority of the Senate's Democrats called on the two-term lawmaker to resign after another woman came forward Wednesday accusing him of unwanted touching. An unnamed former Democratic congressional aide told POLITICO Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. When she avoided his kiss, the woman claims Franken told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."

Franken denied the accusation, calling it "categorically not true."

"The idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," the senator said in a statement.

A few hours later, a second woman accused Franken of groping her while they were taking a photo together at a Media Matters party in 2009. In an article for The Atlantic, Tina Dupuy wrote that Franken "immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice."

Franken did not respond to the most recent allegation.

HISTORY OF FRANKEN ALLEGATIONS

The allegations began in mid-November when Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio host, accused Franken of forcibly kissing her while they were rehearsing for a USO tour skit in 2006. She also released a photo of Franken grinning and reaching for her chest, as if to grope her, while she slept on a military aircraft during the tour.

In a letter to Tweeden, Franken apologized to the radio host. Franken said he remembered their encounter differently, but was "ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you."

Four other women have also accused Franken of unwanted touching.

Stephanie Kremplin, a U.S. Army veteran, told CNN Franken cupped her breast during a photo opportunity when he was visiting American troops in the Middle East with the USO in December 2003.

Lindsay Menz of Frisco, Texas also told CNN Franken grabbed her buttocks while they were taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

Two unnamed women told the Huffington Post that Franken grabbed their buttocks during separate incidents at campaign events in 2007 and 2008.

In response to the allegations, Franken repeatedly said he has met thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs. He said he did not remember taking photos with the three women that have accused him of grabbing them, but, at a press conference, said "one is too many who feel I have done something disrespectful and that I hurt them and for that I am very sorry."

Former female staffers and women who worked with Franken during his time on Saturday Night Live issued statements of support for the senator, affirming that he had always treated them with respect.

 
 
 
 

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