Why We Sued To Unseal Keith Ellison’s Divorce Records

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By Christine Bauman and John Gilmore

Keith Ellison is running to be Minnesota’s next Attorney General. As is common knowledge by now, two women have credibly accused him of domestic violence. We at Alpha News believe that the voting public of Minnesota should know the contents of his sealed divorce proceedings in order to make the most informed choice possible. That is why we instructed our attorneys to file a motion this afternoon in Hennepin County District Court seeking their unsealing.

Minnesota media are usually not shy about asking for such things. For example, the Star Tribune expended time and money to get the Prince divorce records unsealed and were successful. Apart from clicks, we didn’t see much news value to the effort but it’s telling that even there, where only prurient interest could be said to exist, the court granted the newspaper’s request.

Several Minnesota media outlets joined forces to compel the public release of documents relating to the tragic disappearance and murder of Jacob Wetterling. This coalition included the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, MPR, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and others. The documents include materials about the family’s inner life and dynamics, information Jacob’s parents were assured would be kept confidential but which are now being overridden by the media in the interest of internet traffic. The material is set for public release two days from now.

Surely, then, local media platforms much larger than Alpha News would take the logical step of asking for Ellison’s divorce records to be unsealed? Except they have not and appear likely never to. Would they have refrained from unsealing these records if Republican candidate Doug Wardlow had credibly been accused of domestic violence by not one but two women? It strains credulity to think they would and this sort of manifest political preference by Minnesota media is regrettable. Like sin, media bias exists through acts of commission and omission.

We do not know at this early stage if our request will be granted. Nor, of course, do we know if there will be any information relevant specifically to domestic abuse or more generally to issues in the race for Minnesota Attorney General.

We do know that we’ve been lectured of late that “democracy dies in darkness.” While other media outlets prefer to let Minnesotans remain in the dark, we at Alpha News are glad to try and shine some light.

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Christine Bauman is Editor in Chief of Alpha News. John Gilmore is Alpha News’ Opinion Columnist. Both have written extensively about Keith Ellison.

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