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Who is Leeann Tweeden? Al Franken accuser worked at Colorado Springs Hooters

By: News Services and The Gazette, citydesk@gazette.com
November 16, 2017 Updated: November 17, 2017 at 11:55 am
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photo - Leeann Tweeden modeling in Denver at age 17. (Photo courtesy of Leeann Tweeden/Instagram)
Leeann Tweeden modeling in Denver at age 17. (Photo courtesy of Leeann Tweeden/Instagram) 

Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said Thursday that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., "forcibly kissed" her and groped her during a USO tour in 2006.

Tweeden, a news anchor for a morning show on KABC-AM radio in Los Angeles, worked in the 1990s as a model, appearing in magazines such as Playboy, Maxim and FHM.

She was born in Manassas, Va., according to her biography on entertainment website imdb.com, and graduated from Osbourn Park Senior High, southwest of Washington, D.C., in 1991.

Tweeden said in an interview with Military Spouse magazine that she graduated from high school at 16 and left Virginia to pursue a modeling career. Colorado was a temporary stop on her way to Los Angeles, but while there, she entered the Venus Swimwear competition, winning locally and, ultimately, the international title.

She posted a picture on Instagram on Nov. 2 with the caption, "#tbt 17 year old me modeling in Denver. #babyface."

Multiple websites report that Tweeden worked as a Hooters waitress in Colorado Springs - and that she was featured in the restaurant's 1994 calendar.

"She was waiting tables at a Hooters restaurant when she was given a 'promotion' - she did promotional modeling for Hooters, and was named one of the top Hooters girls of all time," her Playboy biography says.

An employee at the city's lone Hooters restaurant, near The Citadel mall, didn't know Tweeden and said no employees had been around long enough to confirm whether she had worked there.

Sexual Harassment Franken
In this image provided by the U.S. Army, then-comedian Al Franken and sports commentator Leeann Tweeden perform a comic skit for service members during the USO Sergeant Major of the Army's 2006 Hope and Freedom Tour in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on Dec. 15, 2006. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., apologized Nov. 16, 2017, after Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during the 2006 USO tour. Colleagues, including fellow Democrats, urged a Senate ethics investigation. Tweeden also accused Franken of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept, while both were performing for military personnel two years before the one-time comedian was elected to the Senate. (Staff Sgt. Patrick N. Moes/U.S. Army via AP) 

Online photos appear to show her appearing in the Hooters calendar in 1993 and 1994.

Tweeden was a regular on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," hosted by comedian Tom Arnold, from 2002 to 2007.

She later hosted late-night poker shows on NBC and an Ultimate Fighting Championship show on Fox Sports 1.

Tweeden has done 16 USO tours, according to her Facebook page. Her husband serves in the California Air National Guard, and her father was an Air Force mechanic who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Tweeden, 44, lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Franken apologized Thursday and faced a likely Senate ethics investigation after the accusations. Fellow Democrats as well as Republican colleagues called for an investigation.

Tweeden also accused Franken of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept, while both were performing for military personnel two years before the one-time comedian was elected to the Senate.

Tweeden posted the allegations, including the photo, on the website of KABC, where she works as a news anchor for a morning radio show.

Tweeden said Thursday that Franken was persistent, and "every time I see him now, my hands clench into fists."

Still, she said she has no reason not to accept his apology, and is not calling for an ethics investigation or for Franken to resign. She told a news conference in Los Angeles that she came forward hoping to inspire others to tell their stories.

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