Candidate for Minnesota attorney general and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison claims he was physically abused by his wife, writing in a divorce proceeding that it was “very humiliating” to admit he was a victim of domestic violence.
Keith Ellison’s divorce files were opened for public inspection Wednesday following legal efforts by Alpha News and the Star Tribune to have the file unsealed. Both Keith Ellison and his ex-wife Kim Ellison opposed the unsealing.
In 2015, Kim Ellison sought an increase in spousal maintenance. Keith Ellison opposed the motion, writing in a February 2015 affidavit that his ex-wife “is not credible” and “was physically abusive.”
“[Kim Ellison] hit me numerous times and occasions,” Keith Ellison wrote. “I have pictures of her inflicting gashes on my skin. On a separate occasion she bit my arm, which teft a circular mark in the form of a bite.”
Keith Ellison says he mentioned the abuse during a family counseling session in 2009. When the therapist asked Kim Ellison why she hit her husband and not the children, she said it was “because he can take it.” According to the affidavit, Kim Ellison blamed the abuse on her depression and Multiple Sclerosis. The abuse, Keith Ellison wrote, is what caused him to leave the marriage.
“It was very humiliating to admit that I was a domestic abuse victim,” Keith Ellison wrote.
In arguing against increasing the spousal maintenance, Keith Ellison pushed back on Kim Ellison’s claims that her ability to earn a sustainable income was hindered by her health issues. Keith Ellison said she was “as active as ever” and that the only proof of her inability to work was that she was determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration.
“Her ability to work, given the inconsistency of the physical effects of MS, depends on her accurate reporting of her symptoms,” Keith Ellison wrote. “[Kim Ellison] is not credible. She does not tell the truth.”
“She will play the victim and act as if she can’t walk when it suits her,” Keith Ellison wrote.
There were other disturbing moments detailed by Keith Ellison, including two fake suicides which Kim Ellison attempted in order to get his attention. Keith Ellison also says Kim Ellison pulled a knife on him during an altercation.
“[Kim Ellison], on one occasion, locked me out of my D.C. apartment when I had one,” Keith Ellison wrote. “When she finally allowed me back in, she pulled a knife out of the kitchen drawer and swore she was going to stab herself to death. When I tried to stop her, she pulled it on me. Luckily, she didn’t stab me, but I had to sleep with one eye open all night, as I did many nights.”
Kim Ellison also reportedly stole personal items from Keith Ellison, including his government-issued cell phone, and harassed his female friends, including Karen Monahan.
“[Kim Ellison] harassed female friends and colleagues on the phone and through texts – specifically, Batala McFarlane, Hiam Nawas, Karen Monahan.”
Monahan, Keith Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, has accused the congressman of physical and emotional abuse during their relationship. In one incident, Monahan claims Ellison pulled her off a bed by her feet while screaming profanities. Monahan says she has a video of the encounter, but has not made it public.
Monahan’s story caused another allegation of domestic violence against Keith Ellison to resurface from over a decade ago. Amy Alexander, a Democratic activist, claims to have had an on-and-off affair with Ellison that ended when Ellison came to her house uninvited and assaulted her. Alexander’s story was originally published in the Wright County Republican in 2006. A recently discovered 911 call log supports Alexander’s story.
In the 2015 affidavit, Keith Ellison says he never hit or assaulted Kim Ellison “although I am physically larger, quicker, and stronger than she is.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Keith Ellison called the unsealing of the divorce file “shameful and outrageous.”
Keith Ellison defended his wife, saying he has since “rebuilt a strong friendship” with Kim Ellison.
“I attribute the difficulties in our marriage to the disease and my failure to understand it,” Keith Ellison said in a statement. “I was not nearly sensitive enough to the symptoms of her medical condition at the time, and for that I am deeply sorry.”