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Attorney hired by MN Democrats concludes that abuse claims against Keith Ellison are unsubstantiated

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) speaks during a news conference in front of the Capitol Feb. 1, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. An attorney hired by Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has concluded that accusations brought against Ellison by his ex-girlfriend are unsubstantiated. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

An attorney hired by Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has concluded that the allegations against  Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) are unsubstantiated after his ex-girlfriend refused to provide video evidence to back up her claims. Ellison is currently running to be Minnesota attorney general.

What was Ellison accused of?

Karen Monahan, Ellison's ex-girlfriend, has accused the congressman of physically and emotionally abusing her. In one incident, she alleges, Ellison dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities. Monahan claims to have video evidence proving that this incident occurred.

Ellison, 55, has denied these allegations.

The video that Monahan claims to have is unrelated to a picture that has circulated on the internet, allegedly portraying Monahan after an attack by Ellison. However, Monahan has attested that the woman in the picture is not her.

On Monday, Karin Housley, the Republican running against incumbent Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) for the seat recently vacated by former-Sen. Al Franken, has called for an official investigation by Minnesota's current attorney general.

The accusations come at a time when many in the Democratic Party are arguing that similar accusations levied against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh need to be believed.

What happens now?

While the state attorney general has not agreed to conduct an investigation, Democratic attorney Susan Ellingstad has concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.

“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists,” Ellingstad said in her conclusion. “She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it.”

However, this is still only an investigation conducted by a lawyer attached to Ellison's political party, and not an official independent investigation. Ellingstad and Charlie Neun, the top attorney for the Minnesota Democratic Party, are partners at the same law firm.

Has Ellison responded?

In a statement, Ellison thanked Ellingstad for “conducting this thorough, independent, and fair review.” He said that he believe “women who come forward must be heard" and “have their allegations fully investigated.”

One last thing…
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