The senator from the Democratic Party is one of several prominent American men in politics, media and entertainment to be accused in recent months of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Allegations that Al Franken had groped and tried to kiss women without their consent began to surface three weeks ago.
Allegations that Al Franken had groped and tried to kiss women without their consent began to surface three weeks ago. ( Reuters )

Democratic US Senator Al Franken announced his resignation from office on Thursday, bowing to pressure from party colleagues after a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Franken, 66, a former comedian who had been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, said he would be leaving in a few weeks. Even as he did so, he denied some of the allegations against him and questioned others.

"I know in my heart that nothing I've done as a senator - nothing - has brought dishonor on this institution," Franken said.

"Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate."

Franken, whose Senate seat will initially be filled by a Democrat appointed by Minnesota's Democratic governor, is one of several prominent American men in politics, media and entertainment to be accused in recent months of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Allegations that he had groped and tried to kiss women without their consent began to surface three weeks ago.

TRT World spoke to Simon Marks who is following the updates in Washington DC.

Embarrassed and ashamed

After the initial accusations, Franken said he was embarrassed and ashamed by his behavior but would not resign. Rather, he said, he would cooperate with a Senate ethics probe and work to regain the trust of the people of Minnesota.

However on Wednesday, calls for him to resign came from the majority of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and almost all of the Democratic women in the chamber. 

That pressure came as a new allegation, denied by Franken, hit the news.

"Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently," Franken said on Thursday.

Striking a tone of defiance, he also sought to contrast himself with two Republicans - President Donald Trump and Senate candidate Roy Moore.

"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," he said.

Trump was heard bragging about kissing and touching women in a 2005 videotape that surfaced last year as he was running for the White House. 

He apologized for the remarks, but called them private "locker-room talk" and said he had not done the things he talked about. 

Trump also denied allegations at that time by at least 12 women of sexual advances and groping in the past.

Moore, who is running for the Senate in Alabama in a special election on Tuesday, has been accused by several women of sexual assault or misconduct when they were teenagers and Moore was in his early 30s. 

Moore, 70, has denied the accusations.

Trump has backed Moore, but Senate Republicans have been cooler toward his candidacy.

Democrat John Conyers, the longest serving member of the US House of Representatives, stepped down on Tuesday after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, the first member of Congress to leave his seat during the wave of high-profile harassment allegations. 

Conyers has denied the allegations against him.

Source: Reuters