An attorney representing U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has asked a judge to deny motions by the Star Tribune and Alpha News to unseal his 2012 divorce proceedings, instead suggesting that the judge privately review the file and unseal any records that refer to allegations of abuse.
Last month, the Star Tribune joined a legal effort to unseal the divorce records, following a similar action by the right-leaning online news and opinion site. The efforts follow allegations by Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that the Democratic candidate for attorney general tried to drag her off a bed during an argument in 2016. He denies the allegation, and an attorney hired by the DFL Party to investigate the claim could not substantiate it after Monahan refused to share a video of the incident that she has said she recorded.
Attorney Carla Kjellberg wrote in a memo to a Hennepin County judge on Thursday that the divorce records should not be unsealed because of concerns for the privacy of Ellison and his ex-wife, Kim Ellison, their safety and pending court matters. Kjellberg also argued that Alpha News “regularly provides a forum for those expressing fringe views regarding the supposed threat which American Muslims pose to their nation.” Ellison is Muslim, and Kjellberg wrote that the exposure of details about Ellison’s life “could be exploited by someone wishing to do them harm.”
Kjellberg’s memo acknowledged an interest by reporters in “looking for any pattern of domestic abuse” by Ellison. Susan Ellingstad, the attorney who authored the DFL’s investigative report, limited her scope to Monahan’s allegation. Ellingstad interviewed Kim Ellison as part of her probe and wrote that she “firmly stated” that Keith Ellison did not inflict any abuse, “physical or otherwise,” “before, during or after” their 25-year marriage.