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Keith Ellison denies allegations he abused ex-girlfriend

Rep. Keith Ellison is denying allegations made public on Saturday that he physically abused an ex-girlfriend...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 7:57 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 7:57 AM

Rep. Keith Ellison is denying allegations made public on Saturday that he physically abused an ex-girlfriend.

The allegations were detailed in a Facebook post by Austin Monahan, the son of Ellison's former girlfriend Karen Monahan. The son wrote that he found a video on his mother's computer in 2017 that allegedly showed the Minnesota Democrat attempting to drag his mother off a bed while cursing at her.

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CNN first spoke with Karen Monahan on Friday and Saturday about social media posts she'd made, some obliquely referencing Ellison. CNN was in the process of reporting the story when her son went public Saturday afternoon. CNN has asked to view the video, but Monahan said she could not produce it.

The charges came just days before a Tuesday primary election in which Ellison is running to be the Democratic nominee for Minnesota's attorney general. On Sunday, two of Ellison's Democratic primary opponents, state representative Debra Hilstrom and Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan, called on him to respond to the allegations.

Ellison denied the claims on Sunday and said no video of the incident existed because it did not happen.

"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 never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false."

In conversations with CNN on Friday and Saturday, Monahan, an organizer with the environmental group the Sierra Club, said Ellison was emotionally abusive and on one occasion physically abusive near the end of their relationship in late 2016, prompting her to move out of Ellison's apartment. She said that alleged physical altercation was the incident her son referred to involving Ellison allegedly pulling her off the bed and cursing at her. Monahan said she discreetly recorded the video on her cell phone and then uploaded it onto her computer.

Monahan said Saturday that she did not know where the video was because she misplaced it when moving. Monahan also said she would not want the video made public in any case, calling it "embarrassing."

Asked again on Monday about the video, Monahan said she put it on a flash drive and packed it up in her previous home and couldn't immediately find it because it was in storage.

"It's not on me to show embarrassing and traumatizing video that impacts both families," Monahan told CNN on Monday.

Three friends of Monahan, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, told CNN she had confided in them about the bed incident in the months after she had moved out of Ellison's apartment.

Monahan also shared with CNN dozens of screenshots of text messages and Twitter direct messages she claimed she exchanged with Ellison.

Monahan provided one text of her mentioning the physical altercation to Ellison in December 2017.

"Keith, We never discussed -- the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed, yelling get the f*** out now, calling me a bitch and saying I hate you bitch," the text message read. In follow up texts viewed by CNN, Ellison did not directly address the physical altercation.

Other messages viewed by CNN do not specifically show incidents of verbal abuse.

In one, she tells Ellison that she plans to mention him in her book and he says she does not have his permission to do so. Other text messages showed Ellison and Monahan discussing removing her things from the apartment they shared after Monahan moved out. The conversations are at times cordial.

When asked for further comment, Ellison's campaign referred back to the original statement.

A representative for the Democratic National Committee did not return a request for comment. Ellison serves as deputy chair of the committee.

Monahan said coming forward had nothing to do with hurting Ellison in the primary election.

"People can vote for whoever they feel is the best candidate based on their values. This has nothing to do with that," she said. "Me sharing my story has nothing to do with the primary election. It is never a good time for a survivor to share their story. If I waited a week later, it would become an issue between a Democrat and Republican."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
Lauderdale5902186
Lowndes5405116
Lafayette499193
Lamar488565
Washington4803124
Bolivar3997109
Oktibbeha395381
Panola372379
Pontotoc367853
Monroe3558105
Warren354898
Union345960
Marshall344066
Neshoba3396152
Pearl River3301100
Leflore3041107
Lincoln298085
Sunflower286671
Hancock274459
Tate273162
Alcorn265453
Itawamba263759
Pike263778
Scott248046
Yazoo247056
Prentiss246552
Tippah243050
Copiah242749
Coahoma241054
Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
Covington214672
Marion213073
Adams207070
Wayne202932
Winston201666
George199839
Attala194259
Newton193444
Tishomingo189361
Chickasaw185044
Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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