The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party concluded its investigation into Keith Ellison Monday, announcing that the claims made against him are “unsubstantiated.”
The DFL opened its investigation in August after Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general, was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan. The DFL hired external investigator Susan Ellingstad to lead the case, but it was recently discovered that she is a Democratic donor and a partner at DFL attorney Charlie Nauen’s firm.
As The Minnesota Sun previously reported, both Ellingstad and Nauen have donated to numerous Democratic candidates and causes over the years, including four separate donations to Ellison himself, one of which was filed as recent as May 2018.
The Associated Press obtained a draft report Monday containing the conclusions of the investigation, which called the claims against Ellison “unsubstantiated.” At the center of the investigation was an alleged video of the incident that Monahan claimed to possess but refused to produce, even in private meetings with Ellingstad.
“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists. She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it,” Ellingstad wrote in her final report.
The report goes on to note that Monahan repeatedly changed her reasons for refusing to disclose the video, first saying it was lost, then on a USB drive in storage, and finally that it was too embarrassing to release.
According to the AP, the DFL was not immediately available to confirm the veracity of the report, nor was it dated, though it did include notes as recent as Sept. 26 when Ellingstad reached out to Monahan with a “final opportunity” to disclose the video.
Republican Doug Wardlow, who is running against Ellison for Minnesota attorney general, released a statement Monday calling the investigation a “sham” and suggesting that the “publicly available evidence” contradicts the DFL’s conclusion.
“Karen Monahan’s allegations are substantiated by documentary evidence and a witness. Ms. Monahan’s son, Austin, has seen video evidence of Ellison’s physical abuse of Monahan, and he also witnessed the traumatic effects that the abuse had on his mother,” Wardlow said. “Ms. Monahan also released medical records that detail what she told her doctors about Keith Ellison’s abuse behavior.”
Wardlow, a relatively little-known name in Minnesota compared to Ellison, has been polling well ever since the allegations surfaced, with the latest polls showing that the candidates are tied. The tight-race is a top concern for Democrats, who have occupied the office since 1972.
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