Al Franken Steps Back Into Public Eye for the First Time Since Resigning Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Nearly a year after he resigned his U.S. Senate seat amid sexual misconduct allegations, Al Franken is testing whether he can make a comeback in the #MeToo era.

The former Saturday Night Live funnyman released a podcast on health care this week, just days after a Thanksgiving Day Facebook post in which he mused how much he missed “being in the fight every day.”

“When I left the Senate I said I was giving up my seat but not my voice, and after the midterm elections I thought I’d start experimenting with ways to make my voice heard,” Franken said as he opened the podcast. He ended by saying: “Maybe I’ll do another one, I don’t know.”

Franken was a safe bet for re-election before a radio host last year accused him of forcibly kissing her during a USO tour in the Middle East in 2006, and circulated a photo in which he can be seen pretending to grope her breasts. That was followed by allegations from several women that he groped them while posing for photos.

Several female Democratic senators led by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand responded to the allegations by calling on Franken to step down, and he announced his resignation in December, even as he maintained that some of the accusations were untrue and disputed details in others.

Franken, 67, was among the first politicians who fell amid the rise of the #MeToo movement. But others have survived misconduct allegations since then, including U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who was elected Minnesota’s attorney general this month despite an ex-girlfriend’s claim of domestic abuse. And Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court despite an allegation of attempted sexual assault.

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