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Al Franken disputes report that he will leave the Senate as Democrats call for his resignation

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesSen. Al Franken
  • A Democratic official, who reportedly spoke with Sen. Al Franken and his aides, told Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday that the senator would resign on Thursday.
  • Franken’s spokesperson responded to the report, calling it “not accurate,” and said the Minnesota Democrat is “still talking with his family.”
  • This follows an avalanche of Democratic lawmakers, led by female senators, calling on Franken to resign on Wednesday following new allegations of sexual misconduct.

A Democratic official, who reportedly spoke with Sen. Al Franken and his aides, told Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday that the Democratic lawmaker would resign on Thursday.

A member of Franken’s staff reportedly told the official, who asked to remain anonymous, that Franken discussed his decision with family members at his Washington home on Wednesday.

But a spokesperson for Franken disputed the report, calling it “not accurate,” and said that “no final decision has been made” as the Minnesota Democrat is “still talking with his family.”

If Franken leaves office, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, also a Democrat, will be required to name his successor. A special election to replace the interim senator would be held in November 2018.

Speculation that Franken would resign grew widespread on Wednesday after a flood of Democratic senators publicly called on Franken to step down as he faced new allegations of sexual misconduct.

By Wednesday afternoon dozens of Senate Democrats had called on Franken to step down, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. A representative for Franken said the senator would make an announcement on Thursday, but did not provide further details.

Earlier Wednesday, a seventh woman accused Franken of sexual misconduct. The woman, a former Democratic congressional aide, says Franken attempted to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a senator.

An eighth woman also came forward later in the day to accuse Franken of groping her as she posed with the newly-elected senator in 2009.

Franken insists he doesn’t remember meeting several of the women who have accused him of groping them during photo ops, and he says he has a different recollection of a 2006 incident with Leeann Tweeden, a California TV and radio host who says Franken groped and forcibly kissed her.

Franken has said he is “ashamed” by the allegations and apologised to the women who have felt disrespected by his behaviour.

“I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances – much more careful, much more sensitive,” Franken said during a press conference last week, adding, “It’s going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust, but I hope that starting work today that I can start to do that.”

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