DFL asks Minneapolis police to investigate Ellison allegation
The Minnesota DFL Party on Wednesday asked the Minneapolis Police Department to investigate a domestic abuse claim against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, after both a city attorney and a county prosecutor declined to review a report the party commissioned that did not substantiate the allegation.
Charlene Briner, a senior adviser for the party, told the Star Tribune on Wednesday that the DFL sent its investigative report to the Minneapolis Police Department and asked that they investigate the claims described in the report to determine whether any criminal conduct occurred.
The party asked the Lockridge Grindal Nauen law firm in August to probe an allegation by Ellisons former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that the Democratic candidate for attorney general tried to drag her off a bed during a fight in August. He denies it. Susan Ellingstad, the attorney who wrote the 15-page report, found merit in both parties statements but concluded that the claim could not be substantiated because Monahan refused to provide a video of the incident that Monahan insists exists.
Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, who received the report Monday from the DFL, forwarded it to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to avoid a conflict of interest given that Ellisons son serves on the Minneapolis City Council. But in a letter to Segal on Tuesday, Backstrom, a Republican, wrote that his office would not review any investigation completed by the law firm retained by the Minnesota DFL Party or any other private investigator without the completion of an investigation by a law enforcement agency.
The letter also disclosed that the law firm requested, in an e-mail to Segal, that the Minneapolis Police Department investigate. Messages were left seeking comment from a police spokesman. Segal told the Star Tribune that she asked Dakota County because it prosecutes misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, and that the allegations didnt appear to be felonies.
Carla Kjellberg, Ellisons attorney, said Tuesday that County Attorney Backstrom rightly determined that law enforcement has no jurisdiction because Ms. Monahan has never made a police report. An Ellison spokesman earlier referred to a previous statement that Ellison complied with this investigation fully, and will do so with any other inquiries. Ellison has also requested a U.S. House Ethics Committee investigation into Monahans allegation.
Andrew Parker, an attorney representing Monahan, said Tuesday that Monahan would welcome any investigation that is fair and impartial, including any law enforcement investigation that is fair and impartial. He would not comment on whether Monahan would file a complaint alleging criminal activity to Minneapolis police.
Stephen Montemayor 612-673-1755