Senate Ethics Committee opens probe of Senator Al Franken
Senator Al Franken (Screenshot)

The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee said on Thursday it has opened a preliminary inquiry into alleged misconduct by Democratic Senator Al Franken.

Several women have accused Franken of inappropriate sexual conduct. The Minnesota Democrat said this week he was "embarrassed and ashamed" by his behavior but vowed not to resign and said he would cooperate fully with an Ethics Committee probe.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Eric Walsh)