Al Franken to make first public appearance since leaving Senate over sexual harassment allegations

Posted at 9:52 AM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-22 11:52:34-04

Al Franken will make his first public appearance next month since leaving the Senate last December over sexual harassment allegations.

The former senator from Minnesota will be discussing Russian interference in the 2016 election at the Privacy XChange Forum, a privacy and cybersecurity forum being held in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 1, according to a press release sent out Friday.

The title of the event: "Lies and Lying Liars in 2018: Privacy, Competition and Russian Election Meddling."

"Recent scandals like the Cambridge Analytica breach and the Russian interference in our 2016 election were shocking — but not surprising if you’ve been paying attention to tech companies’ failure to protect users, and the US government’s failure to hold them accountable," Franken said in the news release by the organizer of the forum, identity protection company CyberScout.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British political data firm hired by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, had gathered personal information from more than 87 million Facebook users.

"As a senator, I fought to implement laws that would protect users’ personal information and raised the alarm about the growing influence of these new corporate giants," Franken said in the release. "Now, I’m coming to Lisbon to talk about what went wrong in the leadup to these scandals — and what we need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again."

At the height of the #MeToo movement on Capitol Hill, dozens of senators, including his Democratic colleagues, called for Franken’s resignation after several women came forward with separate allegations that he had forcibly tried to kiss them or inappropriately touched them in the past.

Franken in previous statements had denied the allegations, but announced his resignation in December.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who did not publicly call for his resignation but condemned his conduct, said last Sunday that Franken might make a comeback.

"As I’ve always told Al, he’s had two acts and he’s still going to have a third one," Klobuchar said during a panel for The New York Times’ TimesTalks Festival last Sunday. "What he did was wrong and he has said that. … I think there’s other people that will somehow atone for their sins. We may not see them in politics again but they’ll find another place to be effective and make a difference."

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