Sen. Franken back to work amid sexual misconduct allegations

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he doesn’t remember whether he touched women inappropriately while having his picture taken with them at campaign events.

The Democrat’s comments were the latest indication that he had no plans to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct. One woman alleges Franken forcibly kissed her on a USO tour and took a sexually suggestive photo while she was sleeping; three other women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks while posing with them for photos during separate campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

“I take thousands and thousands of pictures, sometimes in chaotic and crowded situations,” Franken said in an interview aired Monday by CBS. “I can’t say I haven’t done that. I’m very sorry if these women experienced that.”

Franken added that he has to be “a lot more sensitive, and a lot more careful” when he takes a picture and when he meets someone: “I’m going to make sure that this does not happen again.”

Franken’s interviews with Minnesota media outlets over the weekend were the first interviews granted since being swept into a nationwide tide of sexual misconduct allegations. Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of initiating sexual conduct with teenagers during the 1970s. And Michigan Rep. John Conyers is giving up his leadership position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid a congressional probe into allegations of sexual harassment. Both men deny the allegations.

Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he doesn’t remember taking the specific photos, but said such groping is “not something I would intentionally do.”

Asked whether he expected other women to step forward with similar allegations, Franken said: “If you had asked me two weeks ago, ‘Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?’ I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise. … I certainly hope not.”

The first woman to come forward was Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden. She released a photo earlier this month showing the then-comedian grinning while reaching out toward her chest, as if to grope her, as she slept on a military aircraft during a USO tour in 2006.

Franken told Minnesota Public Radio on Sunday the photo was “inexcusable.” He declined to explain it further.

“What my intention was doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am chained to that photo,” Franken said. “She … didn’t have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo. I have apologized to her, and I was very grateful that she accepted my apology.”

Tweeden said Franken also forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a USO performance; Franken has said he has a different recollection of the rehearsal.

Franken faces a Senate ethics investigation – which he welcomed in the wake of Tweeden’s allegation – though it’s unclear when that review may begin. Franken, who hasn’t faced widespread calls to resign, said he will fully cooperate.

Franken missed votes after the first accusations were made public. He said he spent the holiday break with his wife and the rest of his family. When he goes back to work Monday, he said, he’ll ask tough questions about proposed tax legislation that “would affect Minnesota and the rest of the country in a terrible way.”

Franken sidestepped when asked whether the allegations would make him less effective in the Senate. He noted he has apologized to women who have felt disrespected and “to everyone I have let down.”

“I think this will take some time,” he told Minnesota Public Radio. “I am trying to handle this in a way that adds to an important conversation. And to be a better public servant and a better man. That is what my goal is.”

Franken came to the Senate after a months-long recount gave him a 312-vote victory in his 2008 election. He immediately tried to distance himself from his decades of professional comedy, which included raunchy writing and off-color jokes. He also avoided national reporters.

Dozens of women who have worked with Franken, including former Senate staffers and women who worked with him on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” signed statements supporting Franken following Tweeden’s allegations.

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Suspect in custody after police chase in West Miami

A suspect was being taken into custody Tuesday morning after a police chase in West Miami.

Sky 10 was above the scene as police were handcuffing the suspect near Southwest Fourth Street and Southwest 77th Avenue.

Police appeared to be focusing on a white SUV that was stopped in the grass with its driver’s side door open.

Local 10 News has contacted the West Miami Police Department for additional information.

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6 people dead after motorist drives through bicycle path in New York City

At least 6 people are dead after New York City police say a motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path and struck several people, then emerged from the vehicle screaming and firing something that appeared to be a gun.

9 people were reportedly hurt in the incident near the World Trade Center site.

The department writes on Twitter that the suspect got out of a rented Home Depot van displaying imitation firearms and was shot by police officers. Police say the person is in custody.

CNN reports the suspect shouted “Allah Akhbar” after getting out of the van.  The FBI is now taking over the investigation.

A man who was riding in an Uber along the West Side Highway near the World Trade Center says he saw several bleeding people on the ground after a truck struck several people.

An Associated Press photographer on the scene Tuesday witnessed at least two bodies lying motionless on the path beneath tarps.

A witness said the truck had also collided with a small bus and one other vehicle.

The White House says President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident.   

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the president and New York native has been briefed by White House chief of staff John Kelly and “will be continually updated as more details are known.”

Sanders says, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.”
 

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Carjacking suspect fatally shot by police after jumping in Miami River

A carjacking suspect was fatally shot by police Friday morning after police cornered him in the Miami River.Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as the stolen vehicle was being pursued by police.Authorities said the pursuit sta…

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Carjacking suspect fatally shot by police after jumping in Miami River

A carjacking suspect was fatally shot by police Friday morning after police cornered him in the Miami River.Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as the stolen vehicle was being pursued by police.Authorities said the pursuit sta…

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58 killed in Las Vegas Strip massacre; gunman dead

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival from a Las Vegas hotel room.

Police said Monday morning that the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock was found dead in a hotel room with as many as 10 firearms.

Authorities say that 515 people were taken to hospitals and 50 of those are dead, including an off-duty Las Vegas police officer. His name was not immediately released.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo says Paddock first checked into the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel on Sept. 28 and was found dead inside a hotel room.

Two on-duty officers were also hurt. One of those has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.

The FBI says Paddock had no connection to any international terrorist group.

Updates on the story will be filed below as the latest information comes in

11:16 a.m.

President Donald Trump has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. At least 50 people were killed and hundreds injured in the shooting Sunday night at a country music concert.

Trump issued a proclamation Monday ordering flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Oct. 6.

The proclamation covers flags at the White House and all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and naval vessels throughout the United States and all territories. It also extends to embassies, military facilities and other sites overseas.

In the proclamation, Trump says the nation “is heartbroken.”

10:47 a.m.

Eric Paddock, brother of Las Vegas Strip gunman Stephen Paddock, said he was stunned to learn his brother was responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

“He was my brother, and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” Eric Paddock told CNN Monday outside his home in Orlando, Florida.

The last time he spoke to his brother was when Stephen texted him, asking how their mother was doing after losing power from Hurricane Irma.

Eric Paddock said he knew his brother owned a few handguns and maybe one long rifle, but said he did not know of any automatic weapons.

10:16 a.m. 

Thousands of country music fans ran for cover as a gunman fired on them from a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip — a mass shooting that is now the deadliest in modern US history.

More than 50 people were killed Sunday night when the shooter fired hundreds of bullets into the crowd, police said.

Over 400 others were rushed to hospitals after the mass shooting and ensuing stampede at the outdoor Jason Aldean concert.

The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, unleashed a hailstorm of bullets from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

Inside his room, authorities found a cache of weapons, including 10 rifles, the sheriff said.

“We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” Lombardo said.

Festival turns into massacre

The massacre started around 10:08 p.m. Sunday (1:08 a.m. ET Monday) at the Route 91 Harvest festival, Lombardo said.

Taylor Benge was enjoying the concert with his sister when he heard a relentless onslaught of “200 to 300” bullets.

“My sister, being as noble as she is, threw herself on top of me and said, “I love you, Taylor,” the 21-year-old said.

“Even after an hour and 30 minutes, I didn’t know if I was safe.”

Police said they believe Paddock acted alone. “Right now, we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone-wolf-type actor,” the sheriff said.

But why the massacre happened remains a mystery.

The investigation

So far, the massacre has no known link to overseas terrorism or terror groups, a US official with knowledge of the case said.

And a woman described as a “person of interest” after the attack is not believed to be involved in the shooting, police said in a statement.

“Marilou Danley is no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said. “LVMPD detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”

Blood donations needed

With hundreds of victims still hospitalized, officials feared the death toll will keep rising.

The sheriff implored the community to donate blood. And before dawn, throngs of donors had already lined up outside a blood bank.

Shanda Maloney tweeted a photo while she stood in line at 4:30 a.m.

“This. Is. Vegas. This is our community. These are our people. Thank you to everyone here donating,” she tweeted.

Maloney told CNN she also gave transportation to anyone who needed it after the attack.

“I just started picking people up and giving people rides,” she says.

Aldean speaks out

Aldean posted a statement on Instagram saying that he and his crew were safe.

“My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken#stopthehate,” he wrote.

Two Las Vegas police officers are being treated at a local hospital for injuries during the shooting, Lombardo said. One is in critical condition, and the other had minor injuries.

“Pray for Las Vegas,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted. “Thank you to all our first responders out there now.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Twitter that a “tragic & heinous act of violence has shaken the #Nevada family” and offered prayers to all those affected by “this act of cowardice.”

‘We just ran for our lives’

Rachel De Kerf filmed her escape from the venue using her cell phone, starting just after the first shots were fired.

She described ongoing gunfire, and played out the video she had recorded during which more than five minutes of gunfire were intermittently audible.

“The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop,” she said. “We just ran for our lives.”

De Kerf’s sister, Monique Dumas, said that everyone instantly crouched when they heard the shots.

“The band was rushed off the stage, the floodlights came on the crowd, and you see on the right hand of the stage the person who was injured, so they’re calling for medics, calling for security, then there was gunfire again,” Dumas said.

‘Go, go, go’

SiriusXM Country radio host Storme Warren was on the side of the stage as Aldean was performing when the shots rang out.

“I thought it was fireworks going off and maybe it mistriggered, and then it happened again. And when it happened the third time, we knew something was wrong,” Warren said.

“The shells were hitting the deck of the stage when I was on it,” he said, adding that he could still hear the shells as he went under the stage for protection.

“It seemed there was a pause in the gunfire and the people in the yellow shirts were telling the people to ‘go, go, go, go’ … the gunfire never ended, it seemed like it went on and on and on,” Dumas said.

A concertgoer told CNN affiliate KLAS that everybody was lying on top of each other trying to get out of the shooter’s way.

“My husband and I ran out toward our car, and there were people hiding underneath my car for cover,” she said.

“There was a gentleman who was shot and he said, ‘Can you help me?’ And so I put him in my car and I had like six people in my car, people without shoes, running, just to get away.”

‘Like shooting fish in a barrel’

Audio of the shooting suggested that the shooter had used a military-style weapon, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano said.

“Automatic weapon(s) like that — had to be numbers of magazines or a very large drum, it sounded to me like a belt-fed weapon, a military-style weapon and then to be shooting down, to use the analogy, it was like shooting fish in a barrel in that space,” Gagliano said.

MGM Resorts, which owns the Mandalay Bay, tweeted its condolences.

“Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded quickly to the incident a secured the scene,” it said in a statement. “Law enforcement requested that we put hotels in the vicinity on lockdown to ensure guest safety. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

Facebook has set up a crisis response page to help people determine whether their loved ones are safe.

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