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The allegations of abuse against Keith Ellison aren't going away

Back in August, the son of a former girlfriend of Rep. Keith Ellison alleged that the Minnesota Democrat had...

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 5:31 AM
Updated: Sep 24, 2018 5:31 AM

Back in August, the son of a former girlfriend of Rep. Keith Ellison alleged that the Minnesota Democrat had abused his mother in the course of that relationship.

Austin Monahan said he found a video on his mother's computer showing that Ellison had forcefully tried to drag her off of a bed while swearing at her. Ellison denied the allegations and suggested they were politically motivated -- coming just days before Minnesota's Democratic primary for attorney general.

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

Despite the fact that the story drew national attention -- Ellison had become a major figure within the party when he ran unsuccessfully to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017 -- the Minnesota Democrat went on to win the primary days later. (Ellison also serves as the deputy chairman of the DNC below the man who beat him out for the top job: Tom Perez.)

CNN was in the process of reporting the story when Monahan's son went public with the allegations. CNN has asked to view the video, but Monahan said she misplaced it when moving and provided no other evidence to corroborate her story at the time.

KFile: Keith Ellison denies allegations he abused ex-girlfriend

The story went dormant for a few weeks -- although Ellison had promised to "talk more about it in the coming days." That all changed earlier this week, when Karen Monahan began to tweet again about the allegations.

She tweeted this: "Four people, including my supervisor at the time, stated that I came to them after and shared the exact story I shared publicly, I shared multiple text between me and Keith, where I discuss the abuse with him and much more. As I said before, I knew I wouldn't be believed."

And this: "I expected everything that has taken place, before I decided to break my silence. I even stated it in my original statement. I showed up for myself & that was a huge piece of my healing."

And, this: "My grand baby deserves a world where human dignity is not a political tool for your parties interest. #metoo"

The allegations by Monahan have also received a re-airing coming as they do amid accusations of sexual assault from a California professor named Christine Blasey Ford directed at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Ford allegations deal with an alleged incident at a party 35 years ago in which she says Kavanaugh laid on top of her and attempted to pull her one-piece bathing suit off. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the charge. Negotiations are ongoing to get Ford in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee sometime next week to tell her story. Kavanaugh has already agreed to testify.

Republicans have cried foul about the coverage disparity between the Kavanaugh allegations and those aimed at Ellison -- insisting that the only obvious difference between the two cases is that Ellison is a Democrat and Kavanaugh is a Republican.

Ellison's campaign has repeatedly refused requests for comment on Monahan's latest series of tweets. The last press release on Ellison's campaign website is from September 7 and deals with attempts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Polling conducted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio last week suggests that voters in Minnesota want more information about the alleged incident. Almost six in 10 said they didn't know if they believed Monahan's accusations about Ellison. A roughly equal number said they believed her accusations (21%) and said they didn't believe her (22%). Lingering doubts about what actually happened -- and whether Ellison is culpable -- do seem to be dragging down the congressman; he had a narrow 5-point edge over a little-known Republican in the attorney general's race in that same poll.

"You know, I don't think everybody that is accused is guilty," Janet Olson, an Ellison supporter, told the Star Tribune. "But then again, I don't know. I don't know why somebody would say something if it isn't true, so I'm having trouble with that one."

It's hard to see how Ellison can continue to say nothing -- or refer reporters back to his initial statement in August -- in light of Monahan's tweets this week, the ongoing uncertainty within the Minnesota electorate and his tenuous position in the AG race. What's clear is that neither Monahan nor this story is going to go away between now and November 6. Which means for the good of the Minnesota voters -- and for Ellison's political career -- silence in the face of these accusations probably isn't going to cut it.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 88721

Reported Deaths: 2015
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25628921
Ramsey10410318
Dakota7048125
Anoka5664132
Stearns371523
Washington352655
Scott238633
Olmsted226327
Nobles192616
Blue Earth15786
Wright15087
Carver13307
St. Louis131733
Rice12978
Mower12744
Clay123240
Sherburne107814
Kandiyohi9182
Winona84318
Lyon6384
Steele5162
Freeborn5113
Benton5003
Watonwan4984
Nicollet49616
Todd4732
Le Sueur4434
McLeod4402
Chisago4331
Waseca4258
Crow Wing41918
Otter Tail3794
Beltrami3714
Goodhue3249
Martin3049
Itasca27113
Polk2704
Isanti2440
Becker2422
Pine2390
Douglas2361
Carlton2351
Cottonwood2160
Pipestone2099
Morrison1951
Dodge1900
Chippewa1891
Unassigned18752
Sibley1763
Meeker1712
Wabasha1700
Brown1682
Murray1522
Yellow Medicine1482
Rock1460
Mille Lacs1413
Faribault1300
Redwood1290
Jackson1281
Renville1256
Cass1233
Swift1111
Roseau1100
Pennington1081
Houston1070
Fillmore1050
Kanabec1038
Koochiching1033
Lincoln1010
Stevens911
Pope860
Hubbard760
Aitkin701
Big Stone660
Wadena620
Grant574
Wilkin553
Lake530
Norman510
Marshall481
Mahnomen451
Lac qui Parle430
Red Lake370
Traverse290
Clearwater250
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 79506

Reported Deaths: 1256
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15227256
Johnson498527
Woodbury494461
Black Hawk433686
Linn3762106
Story327917
Scott276527
Dubuque276040
Dallas267538
Pottawattamie197637
Buena Vista194112
Marshall175934
Sioux13203
Wapello125757
Webster118914
Clinton106218
Muscatine106052
Plymouth103420
Crawford9944
Cerro Gordo99321
Warren9276
Jasper75632
Des Moines7377
Marion7074
Tama68731
Carroll6305
Henry6034
Lee5947
Wright5621
Dickinson4836
Bremer4637
Boone4627
Washington43011
Louisa42515
Mahaska33619
Franklin33517
Delaware3293
Hamilton3143
Floyd2963
Jackson2963
Winneshiek2935
Clay2883
Benton2811
Hardin2761
Winnebago26611
Butler2582
Clarke2553
Emmet25210
Jones2433
Poweshiek2438
Allamakee2425
Shelby2421
Lyon2413
Buchanan2351
Clayton2303
Cedar2191
Guthrie2175
Kossuth2170
Sac2090
Chickasaw2070
Grundy2012
Madison2012
Fayette1871
Cherokee1852
Howard1825
Iowa1821
Mitchell1810
Harrison1772
Hancock1722
Humboldt1713
Calhoun1692
Mills1651
Palo Alto1590
Pocahontas1512
Monroe14610
Page1410
Lucas1386
Jefferson1331
Monona1321
Cass1292
Osceola1250
Appanoose1203
Union1203
Taylor1191
Davis1134
Van Buren1091
Worth1020
Ida960
Keokuk901
Montgomery865
Greene840
Fremont820
Wayne812
Adair641
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Adams280
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