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Attorney for Keith Ellison asks judge to keep divorce records closed

October 5, 2018

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 a right-leaning online news and opinion site. The efforts follow allegations by Ellisons 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 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 Ellisons life could be exploited by someone wishing to do them harm. She said Ellison has received numerous death threats from terrorists, both foreign and domestic.

According to an investigative report commissioned by the DFL Party to look into Monahans allegation, Kim Ellison firmly stated that Ellison did not abuse her physical or otherwise before, during or after their 25-year marriage.

A Minneapolis Police spokesman also said late Thursday that the department, which was asked by the DFL Party to investigate Monahans claim, has yet to find another agency to refer the case. The attorney hired by the DFL to prepare the report works for a firm, Lockridge Grindal Nauen, that has the DFL as a client but which has also donated money to both political parties.

The Minneapolis Police Department cited a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest in declining to review the case earlier this week. This came after Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal pointed to similar concerns and Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said he would not look at the report unless a law enforcement agency first investigated.

Stephen Montemayor 612-673-1755

Twitter: @smontemayor

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