The woman who accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of sexual misconduct said Thursday she accepts his apology.
“The apology, sure I accept it, yes. People make mistakes and of course he knew he made a mistake,” Leeann Tweeden said. “So yes I do accept that apology. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology.”
She said it’s up to Congress to decide if it wants to have an ethics investigation into Franken’s behavior, adding that she isn’t calling for Franken to step down, unless more women come forward.
“People make mistakes. I’m not calling for him to step down. That’s not my place to say that,” Tweeden said.
She said she wasn’t “looking for anything” when she shared her story.
Tweeden published a piece Thursday accusing Franken of kissing and groping her without her consent.
The incident — which she said happened in December 2006 — happened when the two were on a USO tour together. She said Franken groped her when she was asleep and provided a photo.
She added that she saw Franken a couple of years after the incident occurred, at a USO gala. She said Franken found her in a room at the event and she was “very cold to him.”
“He had a chance to apologize to me then, because he knew — he knew exactly what he did to me then and that picture was out there,” she said.
Franken issued an initial apology on Thursday morning. He later released another statement in which he called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.
His call for an investigation came after several other lawmakers had called for an ethics investigation into the allegations.
Tweeden said Thursday that she was afraid to speak out when the incident happened out of fear of losing her job, explaining why she decided to come out with the allegations now.
She said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) inspired her to come forward with her story. The congresswoman earlier this month shared her own experience of sexual harassment, describing an instance when a chief of staff forcibly kissed her when she was a congressional staffer.
“2017 is not 2006,” Tweeden said. “Maybe I can be somebody’s Jackie Speier and they can tell their story in real time and not wait.”