Things just went from bad to worse for embattled Minnesota Senator Al "Frankenstein" Franken.
In an explosive new allegation, a Texa woman has told CNN that Franken grabbing her butt while the two were taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair, a story that several members of her family who were present at the time corroborated in separate interviews. The accusation is particularly troubling for Franken because the incident in question occurred in 201, two years after he had been elected to the Senate. Previously, former Playboy Playmate and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of "kissing and groping" her during a USO tour in 2006. To support her claims, Tweeden supplied a photo depicting Franken groping her breasts while she was sleeping with a wide grin spread across his face.
Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live, where Franken made his name as a comedy writer, included a few jokes bashing the alumus, currently a sitting Democratic senator, during its "Weekend Update" segment.
Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, reached out to CNN on Thursday hours after Tweeden made her story public saying she wanted to share an "uncomfortable" interaction with Franken that left her feeling "gross."
According to Menz, she attended the Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father in the summer of 2010, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father's small business was sponsoring a local radio booth, and she spent the day meeting various elected officials, political candidates and celebrities and taking photos with them as they stopped by the booth.
When Franken walked in, Menz and her husband, who corroborated his wife's story in a conversation with CNN, recognized the senator and struck up a brief but cordial conversation. Then, as 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. "He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick."
Lindsay Menz told CNN that she walked away as soon as the photo was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: "He totally grabbed my butt." Jeremy Menz described that conversation the same way to CNN.
Franken told CNN he didn't remember taking the photo with Menz, but that he felt "badly" that she felt disrespected.
"I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture," Franken said. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."
"I felt gross. It'd be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt," Lindsay Menz said. "You just feel gross. Like ew, I want to wash that off of me."
"I was upset. I wasn't happy about it in the least," Jeremy Menz said. "He was already gone and I wasn't going to confront him. But yeah -- I was in shock, really."
Menz's father, Mark Brown, said he didn't witness the incident but said his daughter told him about it immediately after. Menz's mother, Jodi Brown, also told CNN that she discussed the incident with her daughter immediately after it happened.
She said she distinctly recalls her son-in-law saying to her: "Our senator just groped my wife right in front of me."
Talk of Franken's groping even made it to Menz's Facebook page.
Menz posted the photo with Franken on Facebook at the time, on Aug. 27, 2010. Her sister, Cari Thunker, commented under the photo: "Sorry, but you two aren't Bibles (sic) width apart" - a reference to how physically close Menz and Franken were in the photo. Menz responded: "Dude -- Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!" (The exchange is visible to Menz's Facebook friends.)
Menz also contrasted her treatment by Franken with that of another Minnesota politician she met that day, former Rep. John Kilne. As Menz was getting ready to take a picture with Kline, she said the congressman asked her whether they should "mutually put our arms around each other" - an interaction that struck her as being in stark contrast with what she had experienced moments ago with Franken. Kline told CNN that he had attended the fair that year, but didn't recall seeing Franken touch Menz. However, he said he always made sure to get permission before putting his arm around a female while posing for photos.
"If somebody wanted a picture, I would ask: should I put my arm on your back or your shoulder?" Kline said. He said that as a congressman, he was particularly inclined to do this when taking photos with women.
Lindsay and Jeremy Menz moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2014. Lindsay Menz is now a stay-at-home-mom of three young kids. Neither is registered with a political party and she said she has equally supported Republican and Democratic candidates while he said he has tended to favor Republicans. The couple voted last year for Donald Trump, and Menz said she has voted for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is a Democrat, in the past. Menz said she believes she has voted for Franken as well, but is not sure.
Menz said a friend encouraged her to contact a CNN reporter after seeing the network's coverage of sexual harassment in recent days. Menz said she "absolutely" would not have shared her story had Tweeden not done the same.
"I don't want to paint my story in the same light as hers," Menz said, saying she believes what happened to Tweeden is much worse.
Still, she said, "the reason I want to say something is if someone sees that I said something, maybe it would give them the courage to say something too."
After Tweeden went public with her story, Franken said he'd cooperate with a senate ethics investigation, and insisted that he "respects women."
"I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed," he said in a statement. "I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences."
But like they say, actions speak louder than words.