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At Capitol, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken apologizes and sees long fight for trust

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken is apologizing to voters, aides and “everyone who has counted on me to be a champion for women.”

The Minnesota Democrat is fighting to bolster his support and made the comments in his first Capitol public appearance since being drawn into a wave of sexual harassment accusations buffeting Congress.

Lawmakers are starting to return from an extraordinary weeklong Thanksgiving break that saw sexually tinged problems engulf two other legislators as well: Democratic congressman John Conyers of Michigan and Republican congressman Joe Barton of Texas.

Those revelations are on top of allegations that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl and sought romantic relationships with other teenagers when he was in his 30s four decades ago. He has denied the charges.