Franken said late Thursday morning in a speech on the Senate floor that he would resign “in the coming weeks.”
In announcing his decision, Franken said that “Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the issues they face every day.”
“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution,” he added.
Franken, the Minnesota Star Tribune said in its report, had been a vocal champion of women’s rights and a popular, in-demand spokesman for various progressive causes.
Hours before Franken’s announcement an eighth woman wrote in The Atlantic that the senator groped her while they took a photo together during a 2009 inauguration celebration.
Franken’s status seemed increasingly untenable after a report emerged Wednesday of a seventh accuser. Half of the Democratic caucus called on him to step down, including Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the minority leader. Franken and Schumer are both Jewish.
Also calling on Franken to go were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., widely seen as a presidential contender in 2020, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the first Jewish candidate to win major-party nominating contests in last year’s Democratic primaries.
Franken, a comedian, actor, producer, and Democratic politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Minnesota since 2009. He became well known in the 1970s and 1980s as a performer on the television comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). After decades as a comedic actor and writer, he became a prominent liberal political activist before running for a seat in the Senate.
Franken was born on May 21, 1951, in New York City, the son of Joseph Franken, a printing salesman, and Phoebe Franken a real estate agent. His paternal grandparents emigrated from Germany; his maternal grandfather came from Grodno, Belarus; and his maternal grandmother’s parents were also from the Russian Empire. Both of his parents were Jewish, and Al was raised in a Reform Jewish home.