Melanie Morgan is the second woman to accuse Senator Al Franken (D-MN) of harassment. Morgan claimed on Thursday that Franken harassed her in a 2000 encounter with the future senator. Also on Thursday, KABC on-air personality Leeanne Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her in a USO skit during a tour of Afghanistan in 2010. The latter claim has prompted Franken to call for an official investigation into himself, following a statement that was judged to have stopped short of an apology. Tweeden raised questions about double-standards applied by politicians and the media to persons accused of sexual harassment and worse. She also posted a photograph, taken by Franken's brother, that depicted Franken grabbing her breasts while she slept on an Air Force transport plane.

Morgan's encounter with Franken happened during an August, 2000 edition of ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. A co-founder of Media Equalizer, Morgan recalled that she disagreed with Franken during the show. “I made a statement about the budget numbers, Franken challenged me, I challenged him back. It was about spending priorities, actually just a mundane discussion. But he obsessed over it.”

After the show, Franken pressed Morgan to continue the argument. She said:

"He approached me backstage, angrily called me out on those numbers and insisted he would prove he was right. He wouldn’t leave me alone, he kept following me. As a woman, his presence and proximity to me felt very threatening and intimindating. I didn’t realize his creepy behavior after the show meant it would continue in the days to come.

“He approached Carol, the show’s producer and demanded my home phone number, which was a clear violation of network protocol. I had thought that was the end of the story and was shocked when he started calling my home, badgering me repeatedly.

“I became fearful and called Carol to complain and asked her to tell him to back off. But he made another call after that. I thought that he might end up stalking me at my home in Northern California, it was that bad.

“By the third phone call I was outraged and terrified, as he is really disturbed."

Morgan recounted that Franken left her alone only after she threatened to call the police. She said she is haunted by the harassment: “I never forgot that experience and it informed me of his lack of character and obsessive personality. I believe every word Leann wrote.”



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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