Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) in an interview on Wednesday criticized how allegations of sexual misconduct against him were handled, saying "they made it impossible for me to get due process."
Franken, a former cast member of "Saturday Night Live," resigned from the Senate in December 2017 following sexual misconduct accusations made by several women, in addition to a photo that circulated online that showed him reaching toward a woman's breasts while she was sleeping.
Colleagues pressured him to step down, but Franken denied any wrongdoing even after he announced he would resign. In an interview with Washington Post Live on Thursday, he said that news outlets had not immediately investigated the claims made by the accusers and that lawmakers had denied him due process.
"No one investigated this. No one at The Washington Post investigated it. No one at The New York Times investigated - no one did any investigation of this at all. And I had 36 of my colleagues demand that I leave, and I didn't get due process," Franken said.
"And it was a pretty awful experience for me and my family."
Franken referenced a reported piece by The New Yorker published in June 2019 in which it examined the allegations made against the senator by conservative talk show host Leeann Tweeden. She alleged that he inserted a kissing scene into a skit that they were supposed to perform together and had touched her breasts without consent.
Franken denied some of the recollections of the story to The New Yorker at the time. Several women who spoke to the magazine and previously performed with Franken noted that the scene had been developed before Tweeden performed it.
The magazine also noted that seven current or former senators have publicly regretted pushing for Franken's resignation without more information: Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in addition to former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).