The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party is forwarding its investigation into Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN-05) on to local authorities as a final step in the process, but so far nobody has agreed to undertake the review.
Earlier this week, The Associated Press obtained a leaked copy of the DFL’s final report on the investigation, which claims that the allegations made against Ellison are “unsubstantiated.” Ellison’s accuser, Karen Monahan, released a list of all the evidence she has provided, including two medical records discussing the abuse, text exchanges with Ellison, and a summary from her psychologist.
Shortly after the AP broke the story, the DFL asked the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to “investigate the claims described in the report to determine whether any criminal conduct occurred.” MPD has yet to make any public comments on the request, but Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said that she received the report and forwarded it to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Segal passed the report on to Backstrom in order to avoid a conflict of interest, since Ellison’s son currently serves on the Minneapolis City Council. Backstrom, however, is refusing to review the report for criminal conduct until MPD conducts its own investigation.
“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 in a letter to Segal, according to the AP.
“However, I will 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,” he continued, but MPD can’t launch its own investigation unless Monahan, the DFL, or any other related party files a criminal complaint.
As a result, whether or not any outside review of the DFL’s investigation occurs is essentially in the hands of Monahan, whose attorney said it was not “her intention” to lodge any criminal complaint.
“Her intention was her healing as an abuse victim, not to get Keith Ellison thrown into jail,” attorney Andrew Parker said.
Ellison’s opponent, Republican Doug Wardlow, has called the DFL’s investigation a “sham,” saying that the “publicly available evidence contradicts” the DFL’s “conclusion.”
“I think there’s plenty of evidence for the public to conclude that something happened here and that Keith Ellison is likely liable,” Wardlow said in a recent CBS interview. “I think that Keith Ellison is completely unfit to be the state’s top law enforcement official.”
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