Rep. Keith Ellison admitted that he once called his ex-girlfriend a “bitch” during an argument about finances in 2013 — but that’s it, according to a report compiled by outside investigator Susan Ellingstad.
Ellingstad was hired by the Minnesota Democratic party in August to investigate claims from Ellison’s former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that he physically and emotionally abused her during their relationship.
Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is running for attorney general in the state this year, has maintained his innocence throughout the process, but, unlike a handful of politicians who’ve been accused of misconduct toward women during the #MeToo era, he has stopped short of going on the offensive against his accuser.
He also said Wednesday he is “evaluating” whether he should step down from his co-chairmanship at the Democratic National Committee to focus on the AG race.
“You know, I’ve been evaluating that recently so we’ll see,” Ellison told WCCO in Minnesota. “I need to put 100% of my time, energy and resources into the race and my office, so it is something I am considering.”
In Ellingstad’s 15-page report released earlier this week, she found that Monahan’s allegation against Ellison was “unsubstantiated.”
The centerpiece of Monahan’s claim is a video she says she has of Ellison dragging her by the feet and legs off of his bed as he yells at her to “get the f— out” of his house.
But she has declined to show investigators or any media outlets such a video. At one point, she told CNN that she had lost the video.
“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,” Ellingstad wrote in the report. “She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of [a] video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it.”
Monahan has said that producing the video would be traumatic.
“You are not entitled to my pain and trauma. You are not entitled to see me getting dragged, when my body is being exposed in more ways than one,” she wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “This is my trauma, I dealt with the abuse.”
You are not entitled to my pain and trauma. You are not entitled to see me getting dragged, when my body is being exposed in more ways than one. This is my trauma, I dealt with the abuse. I have already shared more than I was originally comfortable with. #WhyIDidntReport
— Karen Monahan (@KarenMonahan01) October 1, 2018
Ellison has categorically denied that such a video could possibly exist because he “never behaved in this way.”
His interview with Ellingstad was apparently convincing, too.
“He presented as sincere in his shock, hurt, and disbelief that Ms. Monahan would make these allegations against him,” Ellingstad wrote in an original draft of her report, obtained by The Associated Press earlier this week.
Finding the right investigators
Minneapolis police have declined to investigate any claims against Ellison, citing a conflict of interest — or the appearance of one — because his son sits on the city council there, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The department has been in touch with other surrounding departments about referring a potential investigation once — or if — Monahan, the Democrats, or another interested party files an official complaint.
For now, police have their hands tied because no one has filed one.
Monahan’s lawyer, Andrew Parker, told the AP it was never her plan to have authorities prosecute Ellison.
“That was not her intention,” Parker said. “Her intention was her healing as an abuse victim … not to get Keith Ellison thrown into jail.”
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