A rare case where the victim’s actions to record contemporaneous evidence of the incident are even more interesting than the incident itself.
Leeann Tweeden had a photo of Franken pretending to grope her but he was able to spin that as a joke in poor taste, which is known to happen with comedians. The more serious accusation, that Franken grabbed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth during a rehearsal kiss, was pure he said/she said. This new accusation is he said/she said too but the accuser smartly told a bunch of people immediately after it happened.
And unlike with what happened with Tweeden, this wasn’t Al Franken, comedian, who allegedly misbehaved. It was 2010. It was Al Franken, senator, visiting a booth at the Minnesota State Fair staffed by Lindsay Menz.
[A]s her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,” Menz said. “It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”
“It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” she said, recalling that the brazen act lasted three or four seconds. “I was like, oh my God, what’s happening.”
“He reached around her and kind of pulled her into him,” said her husband Jeremy Menz, who didn’t see what happened behind his wife.
She told her husband, her mother, and father at the time, and they all corroborated that for CNN. But here’s the real smoking gun that she’s not lying now opportunistically to damage Franken:
Menz posted the photo with Franken on Facebook at the time, on August 27, 2010. Her sister, Cari Thunker, commented under the photo: “Sorry, but you two aren’t Bibles (sic) width apart” — a reference, Thunker explained to CNN, to how physically close Menz and Franken were in the photo.
Menz responded to her sister on Facebook: “Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!” (The exchange is visible to Menz’s Facebook friends.)
Concrete contemporaneous evidence that Menz was telling people years ago that Franken had done this to her when she had no incentive to do so. She says she’s voted for Republicans and Democrats in the past, both Trump and Democrat Amy Klobuchar, and may have even voted for Franken himself(!) as far as she remembers. That’s one reason to question her account, notwithstanding the corroborating info. Another reason is that Menz is smiling in the photo with Franken, betraying no distress, although that may prove less than you think. A bunch of women have accused Bush 41 of playing “David Cop-a-feel” during photos as well, in exactly the same way Franken has been accused, and they’re usually smiling in the photos too. It may be pure force of habit — when you’re posing for a photo, you grin and hold it no matter what.
And what does Senator Al say about all this?
What a lame non-apology from Franken on grabbing a woman’s butt: “I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.””
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) November 20, 2017
That’s not even a denial! At least with Tweeden he claimed not to remember their rehearsal kiss the way she did. Here all he’s really saying is “sorry if you were offended.”
The word yesterday from Team Franken was that he wasn’t resigning. How about now? One incident is a misunderstanding; two is a curious coincidence. Three will be a pattern. And unlike the Tweeden incident, Franken has no excuse with Menz that he’d known her personally for a bit and may have miscalculated whether she’d appreciate a crude “joke.” If he did this to Menz, it’s a cinch that he did it to others. Do Democrats want to wait around for that?