A county court has ordered Rep. Keith Ellison’s divorce records to be unsealed, allowing more scrutiny into the Democrat’s private life as he fights off the abuse allegations upending his campaign for Minnesota attorney general.
Hennepin County Family Court referee Jason Hutchison released an order Friday saying the records of Mr. Ellison’s 2012 split with ex-wife Kim Ellison will be unsealed Oct. 17, ruling that “open access is the presumption in Minnesota.”
Kim Ellison, who is also an elected official as a member of the Minneapolis school board, has said there was no abuse during their 20-year marriage. Mr. Ellison plans to appeal the decision, according to his attorney.
“Keith and Kim Ellison remain jointly opposed to this effort to exploit the details of their personal life, and the lives of their children, for political gain,” Ellison attorney Carla Kjellberg said in a statement to media outlets.
The Minnesota Star Tribune and AlphaNews sued to have the records unsealed in the aftermath of abuse allegations made in August by Karen Monahan, Mr. Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, who said that he dragged her from a bed by her foot screaming obscenities.
Mr. Ellison has staunchly denied the Monahan allegations, as well as a previous claim by another woman, Amy Alexander, who said he pushed her and broke her screen door in 2005.
The Democrat has accused Ms. Alexander of harassing him and noted that he obtained a restraining order against her in 2006, but a recently unearthed police report shows that officers responded to a 9/11 call in 2005 from a woman who claimed she was assaulted by Mr. Ellison.
Mr. Ellison’s opponent, Republican former Rep. Doug Wardlow, fired off a television ad last week raising the abuse allegations, which have jeopardized the congressman’s chances of winning an office held by Minnesota Democrats for 47 years.
“[W]orse yet, Keith Ellison has been accused of domestic violence by multiple women,” says the ad. “Even the National Organization for Women has called for Ellison to end his campaign.”
In a Wednesday editorial, the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Mr. Wardlow, pointing to the “cloud of concern and controversy still lingering over his opponent.”
A Sept. 19 poll by KSTP/Survey USA found the candidates deadlocked at 41 percent each.
Keith and Kim Ellison argued that the release of their divorce records would pose a threat to their privacy and safety, but Mr. Hutchison called those worries “vague and speculative.”
“The court is sensitive to these concerns and recognizes that no litigant relishes the idea of the friends, neighbors and opponents having access to their divorce file, but open access is the presumption in Minnesota,” he said in his order as reported by Minnesota Public Radio.
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