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Congressman Keith Ellison addresses major abuse allegations in new interview

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison addresses the abuse allegations against him in an interview. Ellison said that he never abused his former girlfriend in any way, shape, or form. (Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has addressed the explosive abuse allegations that dogged him in the days leading up to the primary election for the state's attorney general.

Ellison, who won his party's primary election, stands accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend, prominent environmental activist Karen Monahan.

What's the background?

On Saturday, Austin Aslim Monahan, Karen's son, shared a public Facebook post accusing Ellison of physically and emotionally abusing his mother.

“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 twitters messages and video almost 2 min long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a ‘f***ing bitch’ and telling her to get the f*** out of his house,” Austin wrote.

“The messages I found, were mixed with him consistently telling my mom he wanted her back, he missed her, he knew he f***ed up and we wished he could do things different, he would victim shaming (sic), bully her, and threaten her if she went public. I text him and told him I know what you did to my mama and a few other things,” Austin added, noting that he and his brother had confronted their mother over what he'd seen on the computer.

Austin said that his mother urged them against going public with the allegations.

“My mom has always tried to protect me and my brother. She doesn’t have to protect us anymore and we aren’t letting her stand alone,” Austin wrote.

In a Sunday tweet, Karen Monahan claimed that what her son had written was the truth.

Karen wrote, "What my son said is true. Every statement he made was true. @keithellison, you know you did that to me. I have given every opportunity to help and heal. Even now, u r willing to say my son is lying and have me continue to leak more text and info just so others will believe him."

In response to the allegations, Ellison issued a Sunday statement denying the allegations.

“This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false,” Ellison said, adding that he deeply cares for his ex-girlfriend's well-being.

In a statement, the Democratic National Committee acknowledged Karen's allegations. Ellison is the DNC's deputy chairman.

“These allegations recently came to light and we are reviewing them,” a spokesperson for the DNC said. “All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously.”

Despite the explosive allegations, Ellison won his party's Tuesday's primary election for Minnesota attorney general.

What is Ellison saying now?

In an extensive interview with WCCO-TV, Ellison said that he never abused his ex-girlfriend in any way, shape, or form, and said that he doesn't even understand why Karen Monahan would make such allegations against him.

Speaking with WCCO's Esme Murphy, Ellison said that he wanted to clear the air after his win.

"I know I can't just run past this controversy and not address it, which is why I'm here with you today," Ellison explained, adding that he had neither physically nor emotionally abused Monahan in any way.

"[Karen] has said and insists that there is a video of this," Murphy said. "Is there a video?"

Ellison responded that "there couldn't be" because "I never did that," and maintained that he and Monahan had been on good terms since 2016, when they'd broke up after several years of dating.

Ellison added that if he could speak directly to Monahan, he'd say, "Look, we loved each other — we don't have to destroy each other."

Karen Monahan previously told Minnesota Public Radio that she had no plans to release the video because it is both "humiliating" and "traumatizing." She later told CNN that she'd lost the video footage anyway, according to WCCO.

When reached for comment, Monahan told WCCO that she maintains her position on her original story.

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