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Domestic Abuse Allegations Surface Against Congressman Keith Ellison

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With just two days to go before Minnesota's primary election, domestic abuse allegations are surfacing against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a candidate for Minnesota attorney general.

The accusations came in a Facebook post published on Saturday night by Austin Monahan, the son of Ellison's former girlfriend, Karen.

In it, he writes, in part, "In the middle of 2017, I was using my moms computer trying to download something and I clicked on a file. I found over 100 text and twitter messages and video almost 2 minutes long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a f -- b -- and telling her to get the f -- out of his house."

He also claimed he found messages from Ellison that would "victim shame, bully her, and threaten her if she went public."

The alleged video was not linked in that Facebook post, but Monahan confirmed her son's story on Twitter Sunday afternoon, writing, in part, "What my son said is true. Every statement he made was true. Keith Ellison, you know you did that to me."

WCCO-TV reporter Mary McGuire spoke to Monahan on Sunday through a call box at her apartment.

She told McGuire she wasn't ready to do an interview yet, but said she will have more to say about the allegations in the coming days.

In a written statement to WCCO, Monahan details a pattern of what she calls "narcissistic abuse" over her years-long relationship with Ellison, including "manipulation, name calling, cheating and physical abuse."

She also gives more context to the story initially published by her son on Facebook.

"One night I confronted him very calm about a lie he had just told me straight to my face. What happened next was a rage that I had never witnessed to that magnitude. He was becoming a person I had never seen before. The next morning, he came into the room I was sleeping in. I was laying across the bed with my headphones on, listening to podcast on my phone.  He said he was about to leave town for the weekend and told me to take the trash out. Given the explosive outrage that occurred the night before, I just should shook my head yes. I didn't look up at him or saying anything," the statement reads. "That is when he tried to drag me off the bed by my legs and feet, screaming "b -- you answer when I am talking to you. I said take out the trash, your a bad guest (even though we were living in the same place). He kept trying to drag me off the bed, telling me to get the f-- out of his house, over and over. I froze. He had to leave and get on the plane. He knocked the shoe off my foot and told me I better be gone when he gets back (which was in two days).This happened in 2016. The gaslighting, manipulation, name calling and cheating started in 2014. By time the physical abuse occurred, I was dealing with the PTSD full blown."

She also offers an explanation as to why she chose to speak out.

"Part of living an authentic life and taking back your freedom, means breaking your silence, if that is what feels right for you," the statement said. "I made a vow to my kids and my grandkids that I would do what was in my power to leave a better world for them. They are who I owe my loyalty to first."

In a written statement, Ellison denied the accusations.

"Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being. This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false," the statement read.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, no evidence of the video noted in the initial allegation has surfaced.

Ellison's challengers in the attorney general race are also responding to the abuse allegations.

Former Ramsey and Washington County Attorney Tom Foley said if a videotape and other evidence exist, they must be given to law enforcement immediately.

"I've handled a lot of domestic abuse cases as County Attorney and the first thing a suspect or perpetrator says is 'I didn't do it, I was not involved in that' and this is what his very insufficient response says," Foley said.

DFL-endorsed candidate Matt Pelikan told WCCO-TV he believes Monahan.

"I think we have to believe allegations that come forward. The saying 'We believe women' means that we support women and we need to give all allegations a fair hearing … the woman in question here has a long history in progressive circles. The focus should be on listening to her," Pelikan said.

Among those defending the congressman is his ex-wife and current Minneapolis Board of Education member, Kim Ellison, who issued a written statement Sunday afternoon.

"I want members of our community to know that the behavior described does not match the character of the Keith I know. Keith has inspired many, and I think it's fair for people to want answers to the claims they've heard. I'll be putting my faith in my experience with Keith."

Right now, the six-term congressman represents Minnesota's fifth district. He gave up his seat this year to run for Minnesota attorney general in the primary election, which is slated for Tuesday.

WCCO-TV has checked the court system and did not find any police reports or records of the abuse allegations.

Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin has not responded to the allegations.

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