Representative Keith Ellison’s former girlfriend Karen Monahan will not release the video she says shows Ellison physically abusing her, says a report from MPR News. Monahan’s son posted the accusations against Ellison online last weekend. Monahan later gave a lengthy statement addressing the details of the alleged abuse, and tweeted out several screenshots of conversations between her and Ellison.
In his Facebook post, Monahan’s son referenced a video he says he saw of his mother being dragged out of bed by Ellison. In a statement, Ellison denied the existence of the video. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false,” he said.
“It’s humiliating, it’s traumatizing, for everyone’s family involved, and for me,” Monahan told MPR News. She believes the demands to release the tape were inconsiderate and unfair to her as a victim of assault. “It sets the expectation for survivors of all kinds of forms of abuse, whether it be abuse toward women, abuse from police officers, abuse from other people in power, to have to be the ones, like I’m doing right now, to show and prove their stories,” she said. “It’s feeding into that.”
MPR News says Monahan provided them with further text messages she sent to Ellison about the video in December 2017.
“We never discussed — the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed,” Monahan wrote to Ellison, quoting abusive language he allegedly shouted at her.
Ellison did not respond to that message or several that followed. Monahan said the recording also came up in a meeting with Ellison one day before he filed to run for attorney general. Monahan said Ellison was concerned about their text message exchanges and her increasingly frequent social media posts alluding to their relationship.
“He said it could ruin his career. I said ‘Keith, I’m not the one who is ruining your career. You’re the one that chose to put your hands on me. You’re the one who chose to drag me off the bed. You’re the one who chose to gaslight me and manipulate me.’”
“He said, ‘Let me see the video.’”
She didn’t show it to him.
Ellison’s campaign manager, Ryan Doyle, said that meeting did take place, but disputed Monahan’s account of it. “After their relationship ended in 2016, Congressman Ellison met with Ms. Monahan numerous times at her request, including the night before he announced his run for attorney general, when she asked for a meeting to request assistance and advice for a mutual friend,” Doyle told MPR News. “In that meeting, Ms. Monahan repeated her false assertion that a video exists.”
“When I have worked with victims where [videos and other evidence have become public it’s been very hard for them and it has been retraumatizing,” Julie Owens, a consultant who works with domestic abuse survivors and groups, told MPR News. “I do think that asking a victim to produce proof of abuse is rather abusive in and of itself, although I understand people want to know what the truth is, obviously.”
Monahan also said she had not been contacted by any candidate or campaign running for attorney general, and did not want the issue to become a part of the election, which is tomorrow, though over 100,000 early votes have already been cast.
“It’s never a good time [to speak about this], whether I came out now or came out during a general election. It’s never going to be the ‘right time,’” Monahan said.