Another woman has come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
Lindsay Brown Menz, who lived in Minnesota for years, accuses Franken of grabbing her butt while the two posed for a photo at the state fair back in 2010. Menz said the interaction between the two left her feeling “disgusted.” She came forward with her story during an interview with CNN, becoming the latest woman to allege Franken of sexual misconduct.
Here’s what you need to know about the incident and Menz:
1. The Alleged Incident Took Place When the 2 Took a Photo Together at the Fair
Menz’s accusations against Franken are the first to surface from while he was in office. Menz told CNN that the incident took place at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. She reached out to CNN after the first accusations were made against Franken, calling his conduct “uncomfortable,” adding that it left her feeling “gross.”
Menz said she was at the fair with her father, whose small company was sponsoring a radio booth. She was there meeting elected officials and various candidates for office, she said, taking pictures with them as they came to the booth. Franken was one of the politicians to walk into the radio booth, and Menz said she and her husband recognized the former Saturday Night Live! cast member immediately. They had a brief conversation before posing together for a photo.
As they prepared for the photos, Franken “pulled (her) in really close, like awkward close” as her husband was taking the picture. She accuses Franken of putting “his hand full-fledge” on her butt, she told CNN.
“It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek,” she told the news outlet. “It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt, I was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s happening?'”
Menz’s husband, Jeremy, told CNN he didn’t see the interaction up close, but witnessed Franken “pull her arm” while prepping for the photo.
“He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head,” he said to CNN. “It was over pretty quick.”
After the photo, both of them parted ways, with Menz telling Jeremy that Franken “totally grabbed my butt.”
2. Franken Said He Doesn’t Remember the Incident, but Apologized
After the allegation came to light, CNN reached out to Franken, who provided the news outlet a statement. Franken said he was constantly at fairs and events taking photos with people and doesn’t remember the interaction. But he said he felt “badly” Menz was distraught over the alleged meeting.
“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 in the statement. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Jeremy said he wasn’t happy about the interaction when it happened, but didn’t have time to confront Franken before he walked away.
“He was already gone and I wasn’t going to confront him,” he said to CNN. “But yeah — I was in shock, really.”
Menz provided a photo of the two, who have their faces pressed up against each other. It was also posted on Franken’s official Facebook page at the time.
According to CNN, Menz’s sister, Cari Thunker, commented on the picture on Facebook after it was posted, saying: “Sorry, but you two aren’t Bibles-width apart.” Menz responded to the comment on Facebook with one of her own, saying: “Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!”
The act of intentionally touching the clothes covering the butt area isn’t considered criminal sexual misconduct in Minnesota.
3. Franken Said She & Her Husband Voted for Trump, but Are Politically Neutral
Menz is originally from Minnesota, but moved to Texas in 2014. Currently, she’s a stay-at-home mother of three children. Neither her, nor Jeremy, are registered with a political party, though she told CNN that she’s “equally supported” both Democrats and Republicans in the past, tending to favor Republicans.
On her personal Twitter account, Menz went public wither her allegations against Menz before contacting a CNN reporter. She tweeted that Franken “grabbed (her)” at the fair, leaving her feeling “violated and embarrassed.”
Menz hadn’t tweeted much on her account prior to coming forward with her allegations, with several tweets in August referencing the reality TV show, The Bachelor. Before that, her last tweets came in 2015, and the Instagram account she linked to is now deactivated.
4. Menz’s Allegations Against Franken Came the Same Day a Radio Personality Accused Him of Forcing Himself Onto Her
Menz’s allegations against Franken came the same day that radio personality Leeann Tweeden came forward saying the senator forced himself on her while overseas on a USO visit. According to Tweeden, Franken and her were rehearsing a skit they were going to perform in front of the troops. It was written by Franken, who she said insisted they practice beforehand. The scene included a kiss, which Tweeden said Franken wanted to practice.
“He said to me, ‘We need to rehearse the kiss,'” she wrote. “I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.'”
Eventually, she said that she agreed to rehearse a line leading up to the kiss. After the line, though, she alleges that Franken “came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
Tweeden said that she pushed him away and let him know she “wouldn’t be so nice about it” if he ever did it again.
“I felt disgusted and violated,” she wrote.
In addition to the kiss, Tweeden posted a photo of Franken groping her while she appeared to be asleep on a military plane.
Franken addressed the allegations in a lengthy statement, apologizing to Tweeden and saying there was “no excuse” for his behavior.
In subsequent TV interviews, Tweeden said she accepts Franken’s apology.
5. Menz Held Several Jobs in Human Resources & Attended a Bible School
While Menz is currently a stay-at-home mom, her LinkedIn account says she previously worked as a “learning and development coordinator” for a supply chain management provider. Her LinkedIn account said she went to high school at Prior Lake Senior High School in Minnesota and graduated in 2002. From 2001-2003, Menz attended Texas Bible College, her account said, where she held a dance internship. She also worked as a “service associate” at the Embassy Suites in 2003 before becoming an event coordinator for Burchfield Ministries and then was the assistant to the general manager — and the human resources director — at an Embassy Suites in Bloomington. She worked at the hotel for several years and helped improve the experiences of gusts while also preparing expense reports and various other tasks.
Menz’s last known job, according to her LinkedIn, was in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. There, she helped “maintain course registration and enrollment process” while also helping with logistics planning and other communications tasks.
“Event and meeting coordinator with substantial event planning experience,” her bio on the LinkedIn page said. “Direct experience with contract negotiation and arragement. Interested in local community and charitable events. Specializing in administrative duties and great attention to detail.”
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