Ellison’s ex-wife: Nothing in divorce file on abuse

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison’s ex-wife said Tuesday that the divorce records set to be released this week contain sensitive information about her mental health but no indication of physical abuse.

Kim Ellison has long maintained that Keith Ellison never abused her in their 25 years of marriage, which ended in 2012. But those records have drawn interest since Keith Ellison’s former girlfriend accused him in August of domestic abuse, days ahead of his primary for Minnesota attorney general.

Karen Monahan alleged Ellison tried to drag her off a bed by her feet in 2016. She said she had video of the incident, which she has refused to provide.

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The Minneapolis Star Tribune and conservative news site Alpha News sued to unseal the Ellisons’ divorce record, arguing it’s a matter of public interest as Keith Ellison vies for the state’s top law enforcement office.

A court referee in Hennepin County ruled last week that those records should be unsealed, setting their release for Wednesday. The Ellisons’ attorney appealed in a bid to block their release.

But Kim Ellison appealed publicly, saying the records would only dredge up for their grown children painful memories of their divorce and details of her mental health — a depression triggered by her multiple sclerosis diagnosis two years earlier.

She accused the Star Tribune and Alpha News of using their “personal tragedy for personal gain or political gain or to boost circulation.”

“It’s not fair that my life’s work should be reduced to the two years that I suffered a mental illness,” said Kim Ellison, a teacher and Minneapolis Public School Board member. “There was never any abuse in our marriage, and there’s nothing in the files to say that there was.”

She said she’s OK if the remainder of their file being released if her medical records and sensitive financial information is withheld.

“I know that public service requires sacrifice,” she said. “But there must decency involved. There must be limits.”