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Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 4:59 PM
— More than 30 women who worked with Sen. Al Franken on “Saturday Night Live,” defended the embattled lawmaker in an open later Tuesday, writing that while working with him “not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior.”
The women, including former SNL cast members Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman, writers and producers, wrote that they felt “compelled to stand up for Al Franken” in the wake of allegations that he forced himself on Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden in 2006.
Franken apologized after Tweeden made her allegations public last week in a blog post for KABC.
“What Al did was stupid and foolish, and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public,” the letter said.
“In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant. That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard.”
JUST IN: Women staff of "Saturday Night Live" sign letter in support of Sen. Al Franken pic.twitter.com/osN6IwMgvB— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 21, 2017
Franken worked on “Saturday Night Live” as a writer and a featured player from 1977 to 1980 and from 1988 to 1995.
Tweeden said last week that she was forcibly kissed by Franken, who was a radio host for Air America at the time, and groped in her sleep during a USO tour in 2006. She shared an image of herself sleeping as Franken’s hands hovered over her chest as evidence of the incident.
Franken apologized and called for an ethics investigation into the incident.
"I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter," Franken said in a statement released Thursday. "There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture."
A second woman came forward Monday, accusing Franken of groping her as they posed for a photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.
Lindsay Menz told CNN that Franken, “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, (Franken) put his hand full-fledged on my rear.”
In a statement to CNN, Franken said he didn’t remember taking the photo but that he felt “badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 9:17 PM
PHILADELPHIA — Authorities are looking for a man who stole a Jeep on Thursday from a dealership during a test drive, police said.
The suspect walked into Philly Auto dealership around 7 p.m. and expressed interest in a red Jeep Cherokee on the lot, according to WPVI.
The man and a salesman went on a test drive. During the drive, the man started driving erratically and the salesman asked him to pull over, according to WPVI. The salesman started to switch seats with the man when the thief pulled out a gun and drove off, leaving the salesman on the side of the road.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 4:44 AM
Continuing to attack the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any links to his campaign, President Donald Trump on Sunday went on Twitter to attack the veracity of former top officials of the FBI, accusing them of lying, and making up information to use against him in the Special Counsel’s investigation.
As he attacked former FBI Director James Comey, and recently fired top FBI official Andrew McCabe, Mr. Trump appeared to be watching television on Sunday morning, citing one of his favorite Fox News programs, Fox and Friends.
“Wow, watch Comey lie under oath,” the President tweeted at one point, moving on to take more jabs at McCabe, who was fired on Friday.
“I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at later date,” the President wrote. “Can we call them the fake memos?”
On Twitter in recent days, Mr. Trump has again focused his ire on the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, once more making the argument that the FBI went easy on Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, and showed bias on the Trump-Russia probe.
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” the President tweeted, ending with a familiar line: “WITCH HUNT!”
Mueller’s probe has already netted a series of guilty pleas from people who worked for the President’s campaign, with two specifically pleading guilty to lying about contacts involving Russia.
As the President used Twitter as his bully pulpit, one of the President’s lawyers also stirred the pot by saying it was time to end the Mueller investigation, which many in Washington believe is far from being complete.
Democrats in Congress again warned the President not to try to end that probe.
“What, Mr. President, are you hiding from the American people?” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
“Thou doth protest too much, methinks,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
“This shows how scared the Trump Administration is about what Mueller will find,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “This investigation must continue.”
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 8:05 AM
— Do you live in Pennsylvania? You might be $457 million richer.
According to the Powerball lottery, a single ticket sold in Pennsylvania matched all five numbers and the Powerball to win Saturday's massive jackpot, a $273.9 million cash value.
The winning numbers were 22-57-59-60-66 with Powerball 7.
If you missed out on Saturday's prize, you have another chance to win big in Tuesday's $377 million Mega Millions drawing.
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 7:53 AM
AUSTIN, Texas — Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, Texas, remembered him as a kind young man and a talented musician.
Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet.
Mason’s Facebook page shows that he was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in local music programs such as the Austin Youth Orchestra, where he was the principal double bass player, and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves, where he was also the principal bassist.
“He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around,” said his friend, Kylie Phillips. “He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. … I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died.”
Another friend from school, Stephanie Lucio, remembered him as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”
“As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery,” Lucio said. “She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”
Former Austin Council Member Mike Martinez said he had met Mason and re-posted on Facebook a photo of them together.
“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”
Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said Tuesday.
The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster, offered his condolences, calling Mason a “most remarkable talent” who had the “chops to study music in college.”
“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school … He carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” Dempster said. “The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak.”
Some of Mason’s teachers grieved for him on social media, describing him as a remarkable student.
Sam Osemene, a U.S. government professor at Austin Community College, said he was intelligent and well-loved by everyone in the classroom.
“He was a very vibrant young man, full of life, always smiling,” Osemene told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. “He had what I call a zeal to succeed.”
Mason had previously shared a couple videos of classical string performances on his Facebook page, and several photos of him show him playing a double bass or sitting at a piano.
A spokesperson from Soundwaves said Mason had worked with its executive director since he was 11 years old.
Mason had left a five-star review on Austin Soundwaves’ Facebook page: “Austin Soundwaves is a great music programs that’s dedicated to the advancement of kids in East Austin thru the power of music,” he wrote. “They push everyone to strive and to do great things in life.”
The group had been contacted by Mason’s family and asked not to comment further.
Mason had performed with the Austin Youth Orchestra for the last six years, its conductor, William Dicks, said Tuesday.
“He was an outstanding young man that had the talent and artistry to be a first class professional musician,” Dicks said. “It’s senseless.”
Anthony House, who was killed in the first package bombing on March 2, was father to an 8-year-old girl and a Pflugerville High School and Texas State University graduate. Friends remembered him as quiet, clean-cut and driven.
House ran track and played basketball at Pflugerville High School where he made friendships that lasted throughout his life.
“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” said fellow Pflugerville Panther Greg Padgitt, who graduated two years before House. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”
After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in business administration, finance and financial management services in 2008, House started a money managing firm, serving as president of House Capital Management LLC. More recently he worked as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries, a Cedar Park-based lime fabricator, and Acme Brick, a Fort Worth-based firm. According to public records, House had recently begun attending Austin Community College.
House’s family members declined to speak to the media Tuesday, but Freddie Dixon, House’s stepfather, had previously told the Washington Post that he thinks the bombings were a hate crime.
“Are you trying to say something to prominent African-American families?” Dixon, who is close friends with Mason’s grandfather and is the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League, told the Post. “It’s not just coincidental.”