Rep. Keith Ellison Denies Domestic Violence Claims Made by Former Girlfriend and Her Son

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) speaks during a rally on jobs December 7, 2016 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) speaks during a rally on jobs December 7, 2016 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is a darling of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He’s the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee. He’s young, charismatic and was the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. He is a frontrunner to become his state’s attorney general, but all of that may come to a devastating end after the son of a former girlfriend claims that Ellison was a violent man who allegedly beat his mother and one attack was reportedly captured on video.


Austin Monahan, the son of Ellison’s former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, posted a lengthy message to his Facebook page claiming that Ellison was not only physically abusive during his relationship with Monahan but continued the intimidation in a series of text messages, threatening the woman should she ever come forward. Austin also claimed that he’d found video of Ellison dragging his mother off her bed and yelling profanities at her.

“Sitting all this time, watching what our mom went through and not being able to say or do anything was hard as hell,” Austin Monahan, 25, wrote. “None of you know the hell our family has gone through. I don’t think half of you would even care. We watched her so called political friends stand by say or do nothing. People had an idea what happened and never reached out to my mom.”

On Sunday, shortly after the post began going viral, Ellison strongly denied the abuse allegations and claimed that there was no video of the alleged incident because he never acted in this manner.

“Karen and I were in a longterm relationship, which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in the statement, viewed by ABC News. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.” (The Root reached out to Ellison for comment. At this post’s publication he has not responded.)

Karen Monahan confirmed her son’s account of events and issued a statement to Fox 9 a portion of which can be read below. The entire statement can be read here.

Throughout the relationship he would say and do things and then gaslight me when I would ask what was going on. He would make me think I was crazy for suspecting things I had heard or had seen. Come to find out, everything that I would bring up was actually true. The more I would see and hear things, the more I would bring it up. The anger and rage were ramping up. He would say and do things to manipulate me, so I wouldn’t bring certain issue up. A few examples of using power and control, cancel trips, tell me to move on a regular basis and would tell me I made him do it because I wouldn’t stop arguing. Basically, the things I would hear and suspect, which were true, I wasn’t allowed to mention or I would deal with some ramification It got worse as time went on.. The pathological lying, cheating, smearing my name and seeking validation and sympathy from the various females he was preying on, kept getting more and more frequent. He would word certain text where he there was plausible deniability but with everything else, it was so clear. After the relationship, others confirmed various things I was suspect to. That is part of the crazy making with narcissist abuse. 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. That is when he tried to drag me off the bed by my legs and feet, screaming “bitch 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 fuck 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. I secured an apartment within those two days. I borrowed the money I needed and spent that whole weekend searching for an apartment until I found one. I couldn’t move in until a couple months. During the waiting period he asked me several times to please not move out, he would reimburse me for the deposit. In my gut, I knew it was the right thing to do and said “no”.


Keith Ellison’s ex-wife, Kim Ellison, emailed a statement to reporters in which she notes that the Ellison that the Monahans describe is not the man that she knows.

“We may be divorced, but we are still a family,” she wrote, according to Minnesota Public Radio News. “I want members of our community to know that the behavior described does not match the character of the Keith I know.”


ABC News notes that Ellison would not be seeking re-elction to Congress in order to run for Minnesota attorney general. Prior to these latest allegations, Ellison, was the frontrunner for the democratic primary, where he faces four opponents. The democratic primary is Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.



I’m not saying that he didn’t do it, or that he shouldn’t be punished/ held accountable, but that fact that the primary is tomorrow? It smells like Borscht, Beef Stroganoff, and Solyanka Soup.