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The Latest: Ex-staffers vouch for Franken after allegations

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FILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens at a committee hearing at the Capitol in Washington. Franken apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens at a committee hearing at the Capitol in Washington. Franken apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on sexual harassment allegations against Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (all times local):

9:50 a.m.

Several women who worked for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken are vouching for him in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment.

Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden alleged Thursday that the former comedian forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a 2006 USO tour performance and later was photographed reaching out to grope Tweeden as she slept during a flight.

Franken apologized to Tweeden but said he remembers the rehearsal differently.

A group of eight former Franken employees issued a joint statement Friday morning saying the senator treated them "with the utmost respect."

The statement credits Franken for fighting for women's issues in the Senate and promoting female employees within his office.

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7:40 a.m.

Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota are calling on U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto and state Rep. Erin Murphy issued statements saying their fellow Democrat should lead by example and step down. Otto calls Franken a friend, but says "we can't have a double standard."

Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other top Minnesota Democrats have called for an ethics investigation but stopped short of asking Franken to resign.

Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden alleged Thursday that Franken forcibly kissed her during a skit rehearsal when they were on a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden also posted a picture online showing Franken grinning into the camera with his hands on her chest as she slept wearing a flak vest.

Franken quickly apologized to Tweeden and his constituents while maintaining that he remembered the rehearsal differently.

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12 a.m.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is feeling the heat back home from his own party and from voters, but no widespread calls to resign.

Leeann Tweeden is a Los Angeles broadcaster who appeared alongside Franken during a 2006 USO tour. She accused him on Thursday of forcing a kiss while rehearsing a skit. Tweeden also posted a photo of a grinning Franken placing his hands over her breasts as she slept on a plane during the tour.

Franken apologized to Tweeden and said he would cooperate in an ethics investigation.

Minnesota resident Terry Stokes called herself a Republican but says she'd voted for Franken in the past. She says she was surprised by the reports. She called it "bad behavior" but said she didn't think Franken should resign.