Rep. Keith Ellison Denies Domestic Violence Allegations

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
August 13, 2018Politics
Rep. Keith Ellison Denies Domestic Violence Allegations
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-M.N.) listens during a news conference in front of the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A Minneapolis congressman has been publicly accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend and her son, a charge he flatly denied on Aug. 12.

The allegations against Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison first broke in an 8:34 p.m Facebook post on Aug. 11 by Austin Monahan, the son of Karen Monahan. The accusations come days before an Aug. 14 primary in which Ellison is running for state attorney general.

Karen Monahan told The Epoch Times that throughout the relationship spanning “several years” she saw Ellison “morph” into a different person who repeatedly lied to her and cheated on her with other women. She said she suffered physically from what she called “narcissistic abuse.”

“The pathological lying, cheating, smearing my name and seeking validation and sympathy from the various females he was preying on, kept getting more and more frequent,” she said via email on Aug. 13. “By the time the physical abuse occurred, I was dealing with the PTSD full blown.”

In the lengthy post shared widely online, Austin accuses Ellison of a barrage of misdeeds including how he had seen “over 100” text and Twitter messages where the congressman had threatened Monahan. Austin also wrote about viewing an almost 2-minute long video that showed Ellison “dragging my mama off the bed by her feet” while screaming and yelling obscene slurs. The son said he found the files on his mother’s computer in 2017.

“My brother and I watched our mom come out of pure hell after getting out of her relationship with Keith Ellison,” Austin wrote at the beginning of the post. His claims were also publicly backed by his mother, who is a political organizer.

Monahan told The Epoch Times that the incident in the video happened in 2016 when she had calmly confronted Ellison over a lie he told her. She said he suddenly flew into a rage she had never witnessed before and the next morning. After asking her to take the trash out, he dragged her off her bed and forced her to leave. She said she couldn’t move back in until months later.

Ellis is a six-term 5th District congressman who first rose to prominence via his progressive causes and for being the first Muslim elected to Congress. Senator Bernie Sanders also rallied for him back in July. Ellis responded to the accusations following demands from several of his primary opponents.

“Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in a statement. “This video does not exist because I have never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”

Minnesota Public Radio News obtained and reviewed the messages. In their report, they said they found “no evidence” of the alleged physical abuse in messages exchanged after their breakup. But a screenshot of one December 2017 text message shows Monahan confronting Ellison about the video (the outlet did not receive the video).

“We never discussed—the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed,” Monahan wrote to Ellison in the text. The congressman did not respond to the message or any others after it.

The congressman’s ex-wife, Kim Ellison, took to his defense on Aug. 12, stating that “the behavior described does not match the character of the Keith I know.”

An online search found no court records of an incident between the two.

Austin said he confronted his mother last year upon discovering the files but she “begged” him and his brother not to tell anyone. He told the Star Tribune on Aug. 11 he did not have the video, adding that he had “no reason to tear down” the congressman.

Karen Monahan said she did not want to share her story publicly and had tried to get Ellison into restorative justice (a system that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through victims) but he kept denying her offers.

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