The Slatest

Minnesota Democrats’ Investigation Finds No Support for Abuse Allegations Against Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison speaks at a podium with microphones outside.
Rep. Keith Ellison.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

An attorney hired by Minnesota’s Democratic Party to investigate an allegation of physical abuse by Rep. Keith Ellison announced that she had been unable to substantiate the accuser’s claims, according to the Associated Press. The party has said it will forward the report on to local authorities for possible further investigation.

In the draft report obtained by the AP on Monday, attorney Susan Ellingstad cited the accuser’s refusal to provide a video she said she had of the incident as the reason the allegation could not be substantiated.

Karen Monahan, Ellison’s former girlfriend, accused him in August of repeated verbal abuse and of one instance in which he pulled her from a bed by her ankle and shouted at her during a fight in 2016. As evidence, she published a photo of a medical document she says proves she told a doctor in 2017 that she had been in an abusive relationship with Ellison. Her son has also said he has seen the video of the abuse.

Ellison, who is running in the state’s attorney general race, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

In her report, Ellingstad wrote that Monahan had changed her explanations for why she did not want to release video of the alleged abuse, according to the AP. Monahan has said that she did not want to release the video because it was traumatic, and she has suggested that she was not fully clothed or otherwise appeared vulnerable in the video. She has also argued that she does not believe she should set the expectation that victims of abuse have to provide proof to be believed. Her attorney said that Monahan might still share the video as part of an investigation, but he did not clarify what the necessary circumstances would be.

Ellingstad works at the same firm as the state Democratic Party’s attorney, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Republicans have questioned whether she can be independent, and Ellison’s Republican opponent in the attorney general race has called the investigation a “sham.”

The report’s conclusion does not mean the matter is settled. The Democratic Party has said it will forward the information to local authorities “for the purpose of objectivity and getting all of the facts,” so that the authorities can determine if there should be any further investigation, according to the Star Tribune. Earlier on Monday, a Republican Senate hopeful also called for the attorney general’s office to investigate, arguing that it would provide “an impartial investigation.” And Ellison also said last week he would request a U.S. House Ethics Committee investigation of the allegation against him.