Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison probed over domestic abuse allegations

After weeks of controversy, an investigation into allegations Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) physically abused a former girlfriend have been found to be inconclusive over the accusers refusal to provide evidence to substantiate claims of domestic abuse.

The allegations against the six-term Democrat from Minneapolis surfaced in August, just three days prior to Minnesota’s Aug. 14 Democratic primary for state attorney general in which Ellison prevailed.

On Aug. 11, the adult son of Karen Monahan claimed Mr. Ellison had screamed expletives and dragged Ms. Monahan from a bed during a domestic dispute in Ellison’s Minneapolis home.

The son, who is unnamed, wrote on Facebook he had viewed “hundreds” of heated text messages allegedly from Ellison, one in which Ellison is said to have threatened his mother.

Ms. Monahan’s son also charged the argument in which Ellison is said to have dragged the woman from the bed was captured on video.  Days later, Monahan supported her claims on Twitter.

Since leveling the charges in August, Monahan has offered evidence of the attack, including medical records and notes from sessions with a therapist.  Ellison has repeatedly denied the incident.

Weeks later, following an outcry from Republicans on Capitol Hill, the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) launched an inquiry into the allegations, hiring an attorney from a firm with deep ties to both the DFL and Ellison.

Led by Minneapolis attorney Susan Ellingstad, the 15-page report stated it could not corroborate Monahan’s claims as a result of her refusal to turn over the video allegedly capturing the alleged assault.

Ms. Ellingstad’s rationale for drawing a conclusion of unsubstantiated claim revolved around Monahan’s evasive answers regarding the existence of the video capturing the incident.

During interviews, Ellingstadt wrote Monahan’s answers regarding the existence of the video shifted, with Monahan claiming it was “lost,” on a USB drive, and a flat refusal to hand over or view the video due to its supposed embarrassing content.

“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists.  She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it,” Ellingstad wrote in her final report to the DFL.

Following the inconclusive report, officials with the Dakota County, Minn., prosecutors office stated it will take up the investigation.

As the DFL probe drew to a close, two GOP candidates for Minnesota public office, Karin Housley, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Al Franken, and Ellison’s challenger for attorney general, Doug Wardlow, have called for the state to conduct an independent probe of the charges.

This is not Ellison’s first brush with a domestic abuse allegation:  In 2005, a woman with whom Ellison was allegedly involved with in an extramarital affair accused the congressman of shoving her during an argument.

Mr. Ellison later sought a restraining order against the woman, Amy Alexander.

Ellison, who has served Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District since 2007, also serves as Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee.


[Star Tribune] [AP] [Minnesota Public Radio] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images via The Intercept]