Minnesota Sen. Al Franken plans to return to work on Monday

MINNEAPOLIS, M.N. - Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is telling a local newspaper that he plans to return to work on Monday and is "embarrassed and ashamed" by the groping allegations levied against him.

The Democrat spoke with the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday, marking his first interview since being swept into a nationwide tide of sexual harassment allegations.

At least four women have accused Franken of misconduct. Three of them say he grabbed their buttocks while taking photos with them during campaign events. Franken says he doesn't remember the photos and that such groping is "not something I would intentionally do."

Franken says he's looking forward to returning to work in Congress. Franken missed votes after the first accusations were made public. He says he believes he can gradually regain voters' trust.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says he's trying to handle sexual misconduct allegations "in a way that adds to an important conversation."

The Democrat told Minnesota Public Radio on Sunday that he's fully cooperating with a Senate ethics investigation after four women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Franken sidestepped questions about whether the allegations would make him less effective in the Senate or become a distraction for key Democratic issues. Franken said only that "this will take some time" and that he's trying to "handle this in a way that adds to an important conversation." He says his goal also is "to be a better public servant and a better man."

He also says a photo showing him reaching out as to grope Los Angeles radio news anchor Leann Tweeden while she slept on a military aircraft was "inexcusable." He declined to explain the incident any further but says he's grateful Tweeden accepted his apology.