Connect with us

Breaking News

Senator Al Franken quits amid sexual misconduct allegations

Published

on

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday he will resign from Congress in the coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and the collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once-rising Democratic star.

“I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice,” Franken said in the otherwise-hushed Senate chamber.

Franken quit just a day after new allegations brought the number of women alleging misconduct by him to at least eight. On Wednesday, one woman said he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006, an accusation he vehemently denied. Hours later, another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed “a handful of flesh” on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009.

“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution,” Franken declared Thursday.

Franken is the latest to fall in the national wave of sexual harassment allegations that have brought down powerful men in Hollywood, the media and state capitals across the nation. His announcement followed Tuesday’s resignation of Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House.

Franken, the former comedian who made his name on “Saturday Night Live,” had originally sought to weather the allegations, disputing many of the specifics but apologizing to his accusers publicly. He had promised he would cooperate with an ethics investigation and work to regain the trust of Minnesotans.

“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true,” Franken said Thursday. “Others I remember quite differently.” Still, he said he could not both cooperate with an investigation and fully carry out his duties to his constituents.

Franken, 66, had gained respect as a serious lawmaker in recent years and had even been mentioned in talk about the 2020 presidential race.

Franken pointedly noted that he was being forced out while President Donald Trump — who has been accused of worse offenses and bragged on a leaked “Access Hollywood” videotape of grabbing women by their genitalia — emerged unscathed. Trump has also endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens and he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s.

“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said.

His resignation means Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a fellow Democrat, will name a temporary replacement. The winner of a special election in November 2018 would serve through the end of Franken’s term in January 2021. Among the possibilities is Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a trusted Dayton ally.

Dayton said after Franken’s remarks that he hasn’t yet decided on an appointment to fill the seat but expects to announce his decision in the next couple of days.

In a Senate chamber with a heavy atmosphere, several Democratic women, including some who had called for Franken’s resignation, sat somberly for Franken’s 11-minute speech and embraced him afterward. But they had lost patience with the growing tally of allegations and paved the path for Franken’s exit.

“Enough is enough,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declared on Wednesday. “We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable, and we, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard.” A torrent of Democrats quickly followed Gillibrand.

“I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington State. “It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside.”

Franken has acknowledged and apologized for some inappropriate behavior, but he strongly denied the new accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide, who said he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.

The woman, who was not identified, told Politico that she ducked to avoid his lips but Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

Franken said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right was “preposterous.”

The allegations against Franken began Nov. 16 when Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour in Afghanistan.

Other allegations followed, including a woman who says Franken put his hand on her buttocks as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two women told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their buttocks at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008. A fourth woman, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo on a USO tour in 2003.

A special election for Franken’s seat in 2018 would seem to favor Democrats. The party nationally is banking on favorable winds since midterm elections are often difficult for the party that holds the White House, and Minnesota Republicans have struggled in recent years to recruit top-tier candidates for statewide office.

Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by just 1.5 points in Democratic-leaning Minnesota, preserving a four-decade run for the party in presidential elections.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Breaking News

Multiple people shot at Capital Gazette Newspaper

Published

on

At least six people were injured in a shooting at the Capital Gazette building in Annapolis. One suspect is in custody.

Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and state police, along with officers from neighboring jurisdictions are at the scene in the 800 block of Bestgate Road, near the Annapolis Mall.

Four of those wounded suffered critical injuries. Two state police helicopters have been called the scene, and a triage has been set up, SkyTeam 11 Capt. Roy Taylor reports.

Suspicious packages were reported. SWAT officers will conduct a room-by-room search.

The Capital Gazette is owned by The Baltimore Sun. That paper reports police were at their building, as well.

Multiple casualties have been reported after a shooter opened fire in Annapolis, Maryland.

Police responded to the incident at the offices of local newspaper the Capital Gazette on Thursday afternoon at about 3pm local time. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles were seen rushing to the newsroom in eastern Maryland.

Anne Arundel Sheriff Ron Bateman told Fox News that there were multiple causalities, but that officers were still investigating the scene. Mr Bateman said that a suspect had been taken into custody.

Officer Marc Limansky with the Anne Arundel County police department confirmed multiple shots had been fired inside of the newsroom, but could not immediately say whether fatalities had occurred.

Mr Limansky described the situation as “active and ongoing.“

Annapolis Police Lt Timothy Seipp said that officers “are trying to clear the building” and make sure everyone was safe. “This is going to be a long investigation,” he said.

Local news reports showed people walking out of the building with their hands up and being escorted by police through the car park outside the building. Phil Davis, a reporter at the Gazette, told  the Baltimore Sun that multiple people had been shot.

A relocation checkpoint has been established for those separated during the incident at the nearby Lord & Taylor’s in the Annapolis Mall.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore said they were responding to the incident.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Pennsylvania police officer charged in shooting death of 17 year old Antwon Rose

Published

on

A Pennsylvania police officer was charged with one count of criminal homicide in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in East Pittsburgh who was fleeing a traffic stop, according to court records released Wednesday.

The charge against East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld is in connection to the June 19 shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. where more details are expected to be released.

On Tuesday, police made an arrest in a drive-by shooting that started a chain of events that ended with Rose’s killing. The teenager under arrest was with Rose the night he was shot by police, authorities said.

Investigators say Rosfeld stopped a car carrying Rose and two other people because it matched the description of a car reported to be involved in a shooting about 15 minutes earlier in a nearby town.

As the officer took the driver into custody, video posted to Facebook by a bystander showed Rose and the other passenger running away.

The officer quickly fired three shots, all of which struck Rose, who later died at a hospital from his injuries. The medical examiner has not said where the teen was struck.

Rosfeld had been on duty in East Pittsburgh, Pa., for three weeks and was only sworn in fewer than two hours before the incident, although he has been an officer in the region for seven years, according to KDKA-TV.

Rosfeld had previously worked in Harmarville and for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. He was placed on administrative leave as per protocol while county police conducted an independent investigation. Rosfeld’s attorney Pat Thomassey, told KDKA he turned himself in Wednesday morning and is out on $250,000 bond.

In the days since Rose, a Woodland Hills High School honors student, was fatally shot, marchers have demonstrated almost daily. They refrained from protest Monday, as Rose was laid to rest, out of respect for his family.

Investigators have not said whether they believe Rose had any involvement in the earlier violence that left one wounded. Authorities previously said two handguns were retrieved from the car, and an empty gun clip was found in Rose’s pocket, according to Zappala

In video of the fatal shooting taken from a nearby home, Rose, in a gray shirt, is the first to run from the vehicle.

The arrest of another suspect on Tuesday came as dozens of protesters returned to the streets of downtown Pittsburgh, blocking traffic with locked arms and raised fists, demanding justice in Rose’s death.

Chanting, “Who did this? The police did this!” and “Three shots to the back, how do you justify that?” marchers began walking several blocks shortly after 7:30 a.m., shutting down busy intersections for more than two hours, according to the Associated Press.

The family’s attorney, D. Lee Merritt, said in a statement last week that Rose was “a generous, hard-working and highly promising student.”

“Affirmations of his generosity of spirit and genuine good heartedness have begun pouring in from all corners of the East Pittsburgh community where he lives,” he said.

Merritt insisted that claims Rose was involved in the earlier shooting are unsubstantiated, noting that the officer had been on the force for just hours before the shooting.

“These facts, without more, simply leave very little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer,” he said. “Additional information concerning the background of the offending officer and the facts available to him at the time of the shooting is needed as we determine the appropriate action in this matter.”

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, dead at 89

Published

on

Joseph “Joe” Jackson, the patriarch who launched the musical Jackson family dynasty, died Wednesday in a Las Vegas hospital, a source close to the family tells CNN.

He was 89.

Jackson was the father and at times manager to pop stars Michael and Janet Jackson, along with the sibling-singing group, The Jackson 5.

No cause of death has been released, but Jackson had reportedly been in ill health.

“I have seen more sunsets than I have left to see,” read a tweet posted Sunday from Jackson’s official twitter account. “The sun rises when the time comes and whether you like it or not the sun sets when the time comes.”

He and Katherine Jackson wed in 1949. They moved into to a home on Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana, the following year, where they welcomed their first of 10 children, Maureen “Rebbie” Jackson.

Rebbie was followed by Sigmund “Jackie” Jackson in 1951, Toriano “Tito” Jackson in 1953, Jermaine Jackson in 1954, La Toya Jackson in 1956, Marlon Jackson in 1957, Michael Jackson in 1958, Steven Randall “Randy” Jackson in 1961 and Janet Jackson in 1966.

Marlon’s twin, Brandon, died soon after birth.

With a large family to support, Joe Jackson surrendered his dreams of becoming a boxer and secured a job as a crane operator for U.S. Steel.

He and his brother Luther also formed a band in the mid-1950s called The Falcons, intent on booking gigs for extra money.

The band only lasted a few years, but Jackson had developed an ear for music and believed he had found some talent in his children. He formed The Jackson Brothers in 1963 — with sons Tito, Jackie and Jermaine — and began entering them in local talent shows. With the addition of Marlon and Michael, The Jackson 5 was born in 1966. Two years later, they signed with Motown Records.

They went on to become one of the most successful R&B groups in history, with their father initially acting as their manager.

At the height of their stardom, The Jackson 5 sold millions of records and had their own CBS variety show.

“Joseph’s role as manager dwindled however as Motown CEO Berry Gordy began to take more charge on his act, a role that reverted back to Joseph when he began managing the entire family for performances in Las Vegas,” according to Jackson’s official site. “Joseph also helped his sons seal a deal with CBS after leaving Motown.”

The success of The Jackson 5 led to Michael Jackson going solo, becoming such a major star that he was later dubbed the King of Pop. Youngest daughter Janet also became a hugely successful recording artist.

The elder Jackson managed daughters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet in the early 1980s until they, like their brothers before, struck out on their own.

Joe Jackson was criticized at times for being a harsh task master. His children told stories about their father being hard on them growing up.

In 2013 interview with CNN, Jackson was asked about his daughter Janet’s complaint that the children were not allowed to call him “Dad,” instead referring to him as “Joe.”

“You had all those kids running hollering around,” Jackson said. “They’re hollering, ‘Dad, Dad, Dad,’ you know, and it gets to be — it sounds kind of funny to me. But I didn’t care too much about what they called me, just as long as they (were) able to listen to me and what I had to tell them, you know, in order to make their lives successful. This was the main thing.”

Jackson admitted that he disciplined his children physically but said he had no regrets.

Joe Jackson on physically disciplining his kids: ‘I’m glad I was tough’

“I’m glad I was tough, because look what I came out with,” he said. “I came out with some kids that everybody loved all over the world. And they treated everybody right.”

Jackson also weathered some controversy after his wife documented his alleged extramarital affairs in her book, “My Family, The Jacksons.”

The couple split more than once and lived apart for decades, but they reportedly never divorced.

The couple presented a united front when their son Michael died in 2009 from an overdose of Propofol.

The elder Jackson told CNN his son had tried to reach him before his death, but they didn’t connect.

“He says, ‘Call my father.’ This was before he passed. ‘He would know how to get me out of this,'” Joe Jackson said. “But they didn’t get in touch with me. They said they couldn’t find me, but I was right there.”

Just this past weekend, Janet Jackson hailed her father during an acceptance speech at a Radio Disney awards ceremony.

“My mother nourished me with the most extravagant love imaginable,” she said. “My father, my incredible father drove me to be the best I can. My siblings set an incredibly high standard, a high bar for artistic excellence.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This