Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general in Minnesota, has been accused of physically abusing a former girlfriend.
Ellison is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a leading voice on the far left of the party.
The allegation of abuse was posted to Facebook by the woman’s son, who says there is a short video of a physical altercation between Ellison and the woman.
Ellison is a six-term 5th District congressman and the perceived front-runner in the race. In a written statement Sunday, Ellison denied the incident.
He said he was in a “long-term relationship” that ended in 2016 but he denied the allegation of abuse.
“I still care deeply for her well-being,” he wrote. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”
State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, who also is running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, recirculated the Facebook post and called on Ellison to answer the allegation. She tweeted the Saturday account from Austin Monahan, the son of Karen Monahan, Keith Ellison’s former longtime girlfriend. By Sunday afternoon the post had been shared more than 2,000 times.
Hilstrom was later joined by Democratic candidates Matt Pelikan and Tom Foley, who separately called for Ellison to address the allegation.
I have no idea if the allegations are true but I can virtually guarantee that someone sat on this story for a while. To post the allegation to Facebook less than 3 days before the primary smacks of political gamesmanship.
This is downright stinky:
In the post, Austin Monahan, 25, said in 2017 he was going through his mother’s computer when he he saw a file that included a two-minute video showing Ellison in a physical altercation with his mother.
The alleged video was not included in the Facebook post and has not been provided to MPR News. There are no police reports or court documents confirming the incident. Austin Monahan said he confronted Ellison by text message after he saw that video and said “I know what you did to my mamma.”
The woman, Karen Monahan, seemed to confirm the abuse, although she has also hinted at support for one of Ellison’s main rivals for the nomination.
In recent weeks, Karen Monahan has been active on social media talking about the #MeToo movement, which encourages women to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, and has has also shown public support for Hilstrom’s campaign for attorney general. Until now, she hadn’t named Ellison in the posts but she had tagged him in many.
MPR reviewed 100 text messages between Monahan and Ellison and reported no mention of abuse. And Ellison’s ex-wife came to his defense, saying:”I want members of our community to know that the behavior described does not match the character of the Keith I know.”
It’s unclear how the allegation of abuse will effect Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in his campaign for attorney general. But the timing of the accusation smells to high heaven. It’s too close to the election to give Ellison a chance to overcome it and just far enough away from primary day for the story to receive wide circulation.
Pretty much a masterstroke, if you ask me.