Dakota County attorney won’t take up Keith Ellison allegation, urges police review

October 2, 2018

A county attorney who had been asked to look further into the Minnesota DFL Partys investigative report of a domestic abuse claim against Keith Ellison said Tuesday that he would not take any action without an additional review by a law enforcement agency.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, who received the report Monday, forwarded it to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to avoid a conflict of interest given Ellisons son serves on the Minneapolis City Council. But in a letter to Segal Tuesday, Backstrom wrote that his office would not look at the report completed by the Lockridge Grindal Nauen law firm and said he would only review findings made by law enforcement.

Backstroms letter also disclosed that the law firm requested in an e-mail to Segal that the Minneapolis Police Department investigate the allegation by Ellisons former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that the DFL candidate for attorney general tried to drag her off a bed during a fight in 2016.

If such an investigation occurs and is submitted to you for review to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed, I will agree to review the matter on a conflict of interest basis for you, Backstrom wrote. However, I will not review any investigation completed by the law firm retained by the Minnesota DFL Party of any other private investigator without the completion of an investigation by a law enforcement agency.

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. Parker would not comment on whether Monahan would be willing to formally file a complaint alleging criminal activity to the Minneapolis Police Department.

The DFL declined to release the report produced by Susan Ellingstad, a Minneapolis attorney hired to carry out the investigation. But Ken Martin, the DFLs chairman, said the party referred the report to law enforcement after Ellingstad was not able to substantiate the claim.

Stephen Montemayor 612-673-1755

Twitter: @smontemayor

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