By Talia Avakian
November 17, 2017

Eight of Sen. Al Franken‘s former female employees defended him on Friday in the wake of accusations that the Senator forcibly kissed and groped KABC radio host Leeann Tweeden in 2006.

“In our time working for the senator he treated us with the utmost respect,” the women said in the statement, according to the Washington Post. “He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our office.”

The eight staffers range from communication personnel to policy aides who worked with him after he was elected to the Senate..

The response comes after Leann Tweeden accused Franken of inappropriately kissing and groping her while running through one of his scripts during the USO Tour, where he was a host, back in 2006.

Franken issued an apology to Tweeden after she published her allegations on Thursday, saying he was remorseful and asking that officials to conduct an ethics investigation. Tweeden later said she accepted Franken’s apology, and that she hoped her coming forward would help others feel inspired to do the same.

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