Norm Coleman stands by Laura Brod, calls photo release "ugly and unfortunate"

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Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman is standing by Laura Brod, the former state legislator and U of M regent who admitted last week that a boudoir photo of her has leaked online.

"I think it's a shame that she is down to her personal life, and her family, attacked by pictures being tossed about," Coleman told City Pages during a phone interview yesterday afternoon. "I just think it's ugly and unfortunate that people who have been in the public life find themselves subject to attacks like that."

Brod is the president of the Minnesota Action Network, a group started by Coleman in March to advocate for Republican causes at the grassroots level. Coleman is chairman of the American Action Network, which the Star Tribune once described as "a prominent and well-funded 'center right' organization that, with its affiliates, has spent millions in recent years."

 In the March 9, 2013 press release announcing the formation of the group and Brod's appointment as president, Brod was prominently featured, saying, "I see the MnAn acting as a convener of ideas and a conveyer belt to decision makers and the public."

Oddly, she put her Twitter account on hiatus three weeks later on March 30 -- hardly a standard move for the public face of a new project.

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Last week, Brod was plunged into the spotlight when a revealing and suggestive photo of her leaked on Tumblr. In a statement to City Pages, Brod confirmed the authenticity of the photo and revealed that she has contacted the FBI in an attempt to prosecute the person responsible for its release. The FBI could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation into the matter.

When asked if any of this would affect Brod's status as president of his the Minnesota Action Network, Coleman scoffed.

"Do I think that people who have been victimized by personal attacks and character defamation can continue to do their job and serve?" he asked facetiously. "Absolutely. I think the question is an absurd question."

Pressed on whether he had discussed the issue with Brod, Coleman grew audibly angry.

"I have nothing further to say to you," he said before hanging up. "I am absolutely flabbergasted."


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