U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison pushed back Friday against allegations of domestic abuse, saying his accuser fabricated the story about him.
The Minnesota Democrat also dismissed a medical record that named him as the abuser, but said he can’t be sure more people won’t “cook up” allegations against him.
Ellison appeared on a televised debate for the Minnesota attorney general’s position, where he faced grilling on the allegations raised by ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan, who said he sent her threatening text messages and once screamed obscenities at her as he dragged her off a bed by her feet.
On Wednesday, Monahan published a medical document where a doctor wrote that Monahan “states that she was in a very stressful environment for years, emotional and physical abuse by a partner with whom she is now separated.”
“She identifies the individual she was involved with as Congressman Ellison, and she is worried about retribution if she identifies him publicly,” the document added.
Ellison, who serves as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), decried Monahan’s story as “not true” and assured that an “ongoing investigation” will conclude that Monahan’s claims are false. He dismissed the medical record, saying it was written a year after his relationship with Monahan ended.
When pressed whether the investigation will be done before the election, Ellison said it’s an independent investigation and he remains uncertain about the timetable.
“It’s not an independent investigation! It’s independent by your friends and fellow party members. That’s not an independent investigation.”
But his Republican opponent Doug Wardlow wasn’t satisfied with Ellison’s answer, saying Monahan’s claims won’t be reviewed by an actual independent investigator. “It’s not an independent investigation!” he said. “It’s independent by your friends and fellow party members. That’s not an independent investigation.”
The debate moderator brought up the issue of allegations of domestic abuse by both Monahan and a woman named Amy Alexander, who claimed in 2006 that he verbally abused her and pushed during a heated argument, saying they could be “a factor” in Ellison’s bid for the state attorney general.
Ellison denied Alexander’s allegations, saying she was “harassing” him and even put a restraining order against her so she stops “making falsehoods” against him. “So this is not multiple cases,” he said.
But Ellison stumbled to find words when the moderator continued to quiz him on Monahan and asked why he declined the offer to meet her together with the investigator.
“Well, because I — we broke up two years ago for a reason,” Ellison said. “I didn’t want to be in the relationship and therefore, I left the relationship. And to get back in touch with her again is not something that I am interested in doing.”
“Look, in this political environment, I don’t know what somebody might cook up.”
The moderator then asked: “Are you confident that no one else will step forward with any other allegations?
“Look, in this political environment, I don’t know what somebody might cook up,” Ellison replied. “But I could tell you that there is absolutely nobody that I am aware of who has any sort of — who is threatening or suggesting or who has ever made a prior accusation about me.”
His Republican opponent shot back at him, saying “two credible, strong allegations of domestic abuse is enough.”
“There’s documentary evidence. We have a medical record where we have Monahan reported to her doctor the abuse that was going on,” he added.