CNN on Monday is reporting that a second woman is accusing Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of unwanted sexual touching, with this alleged encounter occurring after he was elected.
The national news network says it was contacted by 33-year-old Lindsay Menz, of Texas, and she is accusing Franken of grabbing her buttocks while posing together for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.
In a statement Sunday to CNN, Franken said he did not remember taking the photo with Menz and that he felt “badly” that she felt disrespected.
“I take thousands of photos at the State Fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture,” Franken said. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Menz told CNN she was at the fair with her husband and father, a businessman who was sponsoring a local radio booth, and she spent the day taking photos with various elected officials, political candidates and as they stopped by.
Menz’s account follows last week’s disclosure by Los Angeles radio personality Leeann Tweeden that the Democratic senator forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 USO tour. He has since apologized to her but added that he remembers their encounter differently. On that same tour, the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member also mugged for a photo as his hands hovered over Tweeden’s breasts as she slept. The scandal has left Franken facing a Senate ethics investigation and calls to resign.
CNN says Menz reached out to the network on Thursday, hours after Tweeden made her story public. Menz told CNN she wanted to share an “uncomfortable” interaction that left her feeling “gross.”
Menz told the network that when the first-term senator walked in to the booth, Menz and her husband, who also spoke with CNN, recognized him right away. Menz said she had a brief and cordial exchange with the senator.
Then as her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,” Menz said. “It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”
“It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” she told CNN, recalling that the brazen act lasted three or four seconds. “I was like, oh my God, what’s happening.”
Husband Jerry Menz told CNN that Franken “reached around her and kind of pulled her into him. He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick.”
Lindsay Menz told CNN she walked away as soon as the photo was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: “He totally grabbed my butt.”
Menz’s mother, Jodi Brown, also told CNN that she discussed the incident with her daughter immediately after it happened. She said she distinctly recalls her son-in-law saying to her: “Our senator just groped my wife right in front of me.”
In the photo of Menz and Franken, the side of the senator’s face is pressed up against Menz’s but the lower halves of their bodies are not shown. Both of them are smiling.
CNN said Lindsay and Jeremy Menz moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2014. Lindsay Menz is a stay-at-home-mom of three young kids. Neither, they said, is registered with a political party. She said she has equally supported Republican and Democratic candidates. Jeremy Lenz told the network that he has leaned Republican. The couple voted last year for Donald Trump, and Menz said she has voted for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat.
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