Al Franken says he will resign U.S. Senate seat

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. (AP file photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Coverage of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and the allegations of sexual misconduct against him (all times local):

Updated 11:45 a.m.: Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is resigning amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations.

Once a rising star in the Democratic Party, Franken made the announcement in a speech Thursday on the Senate floor.

The two-term lawmaker has repeatedly apologized as several women stepped forward to accuse him of sexually inappropriate behavior, from groping to forcibly trying to kiss them.

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But a fresh allegation on Wednesday unleashed a torrent of Democratic demands that Franken step aside. Female senators led the chorus.

Franken is an actor who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and an author who narrowly won his Senate seat in 2008 after a prolonged vote count. He has been a fierce opponent of the Trump administration.

His political fall has been swift by congressional standards. The first allegation surfaced on Nov. 16.

Updated 11:35 a.m.: Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine is asking about the number of sexual harassment claims filed against senators and staffers, along with the amount of money spent on settlement of harassment cases.

Kaine writes in a letter to the Senate Office of Compliance that he will publicly release any information he receives to promote greater awareness of the problem and develop solutions.

The Virginia senator’s letter comes as Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota is under pressure to resign from the Senate amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The House has revealed it paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint against Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold. Settlements by senators, if any, have not been made public.

Kaine says sexual misconduct continues to be a barrier against gender equality.

Updated 9:29 a.m.: Sen. Al Franken will say whether he is resigning in a speech on the Senate floor at 11:45 a.m.

Franken is under intense pressure to step down as allegations of sexual misconduct have mounted, with at least eight women accusing him of acting inappropriately.

The Minnesota senator’s support among fellow Democrats crumbled on Wednesday after a woman accused Franken of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Hours later another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed “a handful of flesh” on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009.

A tweet on Franken’s Twitter account Wednesday evening said Franken was talking with his family, and any report of a final decision his future was inaccurate.

Updated 3:57 a.m.: Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, facing fresh allegations of sexual misconduct and vanishing support from fellow Democrats, appears to be on the brink of resigning from the Senate.

Franken scheduled an announcement for Thursday, though his office tweeted Wednesday evening that he had not made “a final decision” on resigning.

But a majority of the Senate’s Democrats called on the two-term lawmaker to quit after a woman emerged Wednesday morning saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006. Hours later, another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed “a handful of flesh” on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009.

That brought the number of women alleging misconduct by Franken to at least eight.

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