Attorney for Ellison's accuser talks to WCCO Radio

"This whole matter is about giving voice to women, giving voice to abuse victims."

Jordana Green
October 03, 2018 - 4:28 pm

Entercom

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Andy Parker the attorney representing Karen Monahan, Congressman Keith Ellison's ex-girlfriend, sat down with WCCO's Jordana Green and Paul Douglas. He says his client is being re-victimized. The audio and transcript are below:

Jordana Green: So I know you've been with Karen just a few days now. Is that right?

Andy Parker: That's correct.

Jordana Green: So what is your and her reaction to this, “We cannot substantiate any abuse allegation” report from the DFL?

Andy Parker: Well, first, thank you for having me on. This whole matter is about giving voice to women, giving voice to abuse victims. As you know, Karen Monahan came out publicly after a relationship with Keith Ellison over a number of years. She came out publicly well over a year after she broke that relationship off with Mr. Ellison and it took her that long to really gain the strength to do so. Now, Keith Ellison is the vice chair of the Democrat National Committee. He is also the fifth congressional district representative from the state of Minnesota, and as you know, he's running for Attorney General now. As it relates to his National Democrat Party positions, the Democratic Party nationally decided not to do any sort of investigation into this after these issues came out publicly regarding their vice chair, but rather send it to the state DFL party. The state DFL then hired the Lockridge Grindal Nauen and from a very good law firm in Downtown Minneapolis that I know well and Susan Ellingstad investigated this matter. Susan, I know well also.

Jordana Green: We asked Susan to join us today as well. She declined. 

Andy Parker: She... I like Susan very much. She is a good lawyer as well. We did not receive a copy of this report, Karen Monahan or myself. We learned a bit from the AP, the Associated Press received this report before the victim, before the subjects of the investigation, which is troubling how that happened. When we're talking about a law firm, a very reputable law firm, and the DFL party, how that got out, before it was provided to the subjects of the investigation and got out to the media with this sort of conclusion.

Jordana Green: You can't be surprised about the conclusion, Andy?

Andy Parker: Well, I am surprised about the conclusion because Karen Monahan, people that haven't read the report will not know, but if you do read the report, there is extensive corroborating evidence of Karen Monahan's allegations.

Jordana Green: Like what?

Andy Parker: First, the report only focuses on the single allegation of physical abuse. Her allegations of abuse go far beyond that. The emotional and psychological abuse that she suffered at the hands of Keith Ellison, well documented by her and can be seen and she talks about is not part of this report and that is important to note. The one incident that she is identified as physical abuse by Mr. Ellison toward the end of their relationship was investigated in this report and the investigator had the opinion after recounting substantial, corroborative evidence including witnesses that Karen Monahan told about this physical abuse shortly after it. And a year before it ever came out publicly. So, she would've had to have been sitting on this for a full year, just waiting. Is that the conspiracy? No, she told these people about it because it was true and these people have all testified that she did tell them about it and they have said they totally believed her.

Paul Douglas: Andy, have you seen the video? There is a video. Have you seen it? 

Andy Parker: No, I have not. Karen has been out of town. I have not met with her yet, I have not yet seen it, but let me speak to the video because the media in particular is making this all about a video. Karen refuses to do that. Just one of the strongest women I've talked to and she did not have it when I went and met with her. So, I haven't seen it. But that isn't really the reason at the core as to why I haven't seen it. She does not want this to be about a video. She never intended it to be about a video. She never intended her son to see the video. She was the only one who ever had seen the video and knew that she had taken it.

Jordana Green: Why doesn't she want it to be about a video?

Andy Parker: Because she wants to give voice to women, women who have been abused and women who do not have video. They have corroborative evidence like she does. She has extensive, corroborative evidence to give herself voice and to give truth to her statement. If you don't have a video that means you're not believed. She refuses to be bullied into that. 

Jordana Green: It's my understanding that at that Keith Ellison himself requested a U.S. House ethics investigation. Are you in support of that? Is that going to be happening?

Andy Parker: Listen, I mean Mr. Ellison is very aware of the fact that he can call for a House Ethics Committee investigation, but that it's never going to happen because he's going to be out of office before it happens as a congressman. So, it certainly makes himself look good. Like, "I have nothing to hide." There's never gonna be a house ethics committee investigation — mark my words. If there is, Karen Monahan will fully cooperate. She welcomes any investigation into this situation that is fair and impartial.

Jordana Green: Now, you also understand as a lawyer, of course, Andy, as somebody who's been working on some sexual investigation cases myself through the podcast, the evidence with a video is very compelling and sometimes cops need that to prove a case. If you have video that's like the golden ticket — audio, video, anything like that, it's the golden ticket. I'm on the side of the victim. I always feel like they have to be believed and then investigated. Of course, I understand. Maybe she feels that maybe she wasn't dressed or she didn't want herself to be out there in the video looking like that. Is she willing at some point to release the video at least two other investigators?  

Andy Parker: I don't know, but I will say this on her behalf and on behalf of all women who do not want to be re-victimized. The humiliation, the embarrassment that results from being in such a compromised position at the hands of a man is more difficult than you can know if you haven't gone through it yourself. Very easy for us to say as we stand back and say, ‘just show the video and it'll be…’ This is A) very important for her healing. B) It's very important for the voices of those who have not come forth, that they understand you have a video or don't have a video, you need to come forward. And you need not be ashamed about what it's about. Yes, of course. If this were about throwing the book at Keith Ellison from legal law enforcement perspective, that's one thing, that’s not what it's about for her and it has never been about that for her. 

Paul Douglas: The amount of evidence corroborating or otherwise that compelled you to take this case. I mean, obviously you had to make a decision as an attorney whether or not you found her credible and compelling, whether there was in fact corroborating evidence. No question in your mind that the evidence is in fact damning?

Andy Parker: Yeah. The, there, there isn't. I believe Karen Monahan and I would not have taken this case if I didn't. People are going to say I'm politically motivated. Doug Wardlow used to work for me as he did and I am not ashamed of that at all. He's an excellent lawyer. One of the best that I've ever worked with. And, and I will tell you, I don't think Keith Ellison should be the Attorney General of the state of Minnesota. Now, I believe that even more unquestionably because I have seen the evidence and just look at Susan Ellingstad's report. She saw the evidence and she talked about it as well. She ended up with a different conclusion for a couple of reasons. One, the video which I've spoken to already and I disagree with her on that, but the other two is she characterized Karen Monahan as a jilted lover and the, the documents and the evidence just do not support that.

Jordana Green: Why did she characterize her that way?

Andy Parker: Because you know, Keith Ellison painted this picture and so she believed his statements.The documentation that I have and that I can read to you maybe, if you break...

Jordana Green: Yeah, let's do that. In studio is Andy Parker, Parker is the attorney for Karen Monahan. She has accused Keith Ellison of physical and emotional abuse during their relationship. Now on Monday, the DFL referred to an internal report on the domestic abuse claim and said “the claims could not be substantiated.”  Andy says there is proof that they can. What do you have in that report, Andy? 

Andy Parker: Well, you know, as I talked about on the other side of the brake, there is corroborating evidence that Susan Ellingstad, the investigator, found and articulated in the report, and when you read the report, that in and of itself, is substantial. She, in the end decided to believe Keith Ellison and his word. She said that he was a credible when speaking to her. And so, she gave it uneven weight, flipping it on this video that we talked about as well. But, you know, reasonable minds can differ. Another investigator may have found something different. I don't know if there were a of the biases related to Susan Ellingstad or toward Ms. Monaghan or Mr. Ellison. But, an unsubstantiated does not mean that Mr. Ellison is exonerated. She did not find that he was exonerated based on the evidence here. Unsubstantiated means she can't say one way or another. Now I would say based on all the evidence that she should have. And one of the things that kind of came through the report, the pages of the report was this jilted lovers sort of attitude toward this hysterical woman who has come forward and she's unstable and that, you know, that sort of writing is, you know, was troubling, yes. This was extreme, it changed Karen Monahan as a person. And, and just so your listeners know, Karen Monahan is a life-long progressive democrat. She was progressive before Progressive meant Progressive, over 20 years ago and she has been a community organizer her entire life. She has won awards for the work she has done. She has been for 12 to 13 years with the Sierra Club on environmental justice.

Jordana Green: She is. These are her people that she wants to give voice to and that she is speaking to in terms of her political views.

Andy Parker: And in addition to that, uh, you know, she was a Paul Wellstone fellow. I mean, this is someone who is not going to try to burn down the house, that's the last thing she wants.  But what's most important for her is that women are heard. And this is not a jilted lover situation. And I just want to quote to you a couple of, uh, and there are many more texts from Mr. Ellison to her after they broke up and she walked out in January of 2017.

Jordana Green: We have about a minute, Andy. I know Paul wants to get another question in here.

Andy Parker: Sure. "Karen, if you miss me and want me back, I'm willing to try again." That was February of 2016. "I'll make it clear that you are my one and only," That’s a... someone who says that to a jilted lover? A in another message later that month, Ellison says, uh, you know, "I screwed things up and please a comeback." I don't think that is something you write to a jilted lover shortly after a breakup.

Paul Douglas: Andy, what would you say to Congressman Ellison? I mean, if he was here in the studio with us face to face or on the phone,  what would you say to him right now?

Any Parker: What I would say is this country needs to have an open dialogue. We need to have a dialogue regarding violence toward women and this needs to include the abuser and the abused and the discussion needs not to be a shame discussion toward the abused or toward the abuser. We need restorative justice is what we need. We need to all come together around this discussion and that's what Karen Monahan wants. That is what she has wanted. I got several calls today about her going to file a criminal complaint against Keith Ellison. You know what I said? I said I haven't talked to her, but I can tell you that this is not about throwing Keith Ellison in jail. What this is about is shining a light on an issue that needs a light shined on it because women are behind that closed door and will not come out publicly because of what's happening now to Karen Monahan. And believe me, the threats have been repeated and the re-victimization has been horrible.