Keith Ellison says he felt 'incredibly betrayed' by decision to unseal his divorce records

"They pulled the rug out from under us."

Chad Hartman
October 18, 2018 - 1:38 pm

(Photo by Renee Jones Schneider/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)

Keith Ellison said he felt "incredibly betrayed" by the decision of a Hennepin County Family Court referee to unseal his divorce records.  

"Having to see my kids and my very good friend and former spouse Kim have to talk about intimate details of our lives was heartrending," he told WCCO Radio's Chad Hartman during an interview Thursday. "I do ask people to try to let us be a family."

Ellison continued: 

"Look, the judge told us that the file was sealed. We asked and he said yes. And we relied on the judge and the court to honor what they told us. And then after they allowed us to put things in the file that were of a sensitive nature, they pulled the rug out from under us, which I feel incredibly betrayed. 

But, you know, those things were tough. But look, you know, no matter what happens me and my family love each other. And, I got the four best kids, any man could have. They're the best work I've ever done. I'm incredibly proud of them and I'm proud of Kim Ellison too. She is an incredibly resilient and wonderful human being. And, I just, I'm sorry that I'm, the judge saw fit to do what he did."

The court records showed no indication that Ellison was abusive to his ex-wife Kim Ellison.  The records were requested by the Star Tribune and Alpha News, a conservative website — in the wake of allegations made by Ellison's ex-girlfriend who says the Congressman physically and verbally abused her in 2016.  Ellison continues to deny those claims.

Ellison was also asked about a reported that his Republican opponent, Doug Wardlow, told a fundraiser that he would fire all Democrats in the Attorney General's office if elected. 

"I want every Republican listening to this broadcast to hear me. I would never put political litmus test on who gets hired at the Minnesota Attorney General's office. We'll hire anybody who's ready to stand up and serve the people of this state and wants to do a great job and look, you know, that's what he said. I'm not running no scary, distorted fake ads, false ads on Doug Wardlow. I'm just saying what he said right out of his own mouth."

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The interview began with Hartman asking Ellison why he had not done as many interviews in recent weeks. The transcript of the begining of the exchang is below: 

Chad Hartman: Why did you decide not to make yourself as available as...as you know, you've been on this show 30, 40 different times?

Keith Ellison: Well, you know Chad, I was busy campaigning, talking directly to Minnesotans. I mean, I'll tell you the truth. I talked to a lot of press in  Greater Minnesota. I've been running around the state. I've been in Morehead, I've been in Detroit lakes, I've been in Wilmer, I've been in Worthington, been in Windom, I've been in Grand Marais, Duluth, Rochester, Mankato, and I've been spending a lot of time getting to know people who I have not been representing over the last 12 years. So, you know, look, man, I hope you know that. I think you're a fair man and I've never been treated with less than courtesy and respect on your show. So I don't want you to take it personally. 

Chad Hartman: I'm not taking it personally. You've made yourself available and I get you have a campaign. But I also understand when a crisis is going on, there's a default that I have as a member of the media would like to hear the information and then you have to make a decision. And, and this is shaping the race, you know, that, you know, they're very... a number of other important issues, you know, it longterm for the state. More important issues. Put a lot of people have questions so that, that's why I asked it. But let's, let's get to some of the questions. What was the toughest part of the last 24 hours with the divorce records unsealed? 

Keith Ellison: Having to see my kids and my very good friend and former spouse Kim have to talk about intimate details of our lives was heartrending. I do ask people to try to let us be a family.  Look, the judge told us that the file was sealed. We asked and he said yes. And we relied on the judge and the court to honor what they told us. And then after they allowed us to put things in the file that were of a sensitive nature, they pulled the rug out from under us, which I feel incredibly betrayed. But, you know, those things were tough. But look, you know, no matter what happens me and my family love each other. And, I got the four best kids, any man could have. They're the best work I've ever done. I'm incredibly proud of them and I'm proud of Kim Ellison too. She is an incredibly resilient and wonderful human being. And, I just, I'm sorry that the judge saw fit to do what he did.

Chad Hartman: The story involving you and Karen Monohan went public on August 11 when her son on Facebook said he saw video. Karen Monohan the next day, tweet out. "What, my son said is true. Every statement he made was true, @KeithEllison. You know, you did that to me." You have been adamant in saying there is no video because you never did that. Karen Monohan is someone you knew for a long time. You knew her well. If it's not true and that's what you've contended every single time, why is she doing this to you, do you think? 

Keith Ellison: I can only tell you that Susan Ellingstad is a highly respected employment lawyer who was an expert in doing employment related investigations. She took over a month to talk to every witness, look at every document where all the information and concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated. That's what I have.. I don't really have anything more to say about it than that. I wish everyone concerned the best. But you know, I'm just going to say that this thing was investigated. I've made myself fully available, answered every question put to me and the allegations were found to be unsubstantiated. So that's what I have to say about it Chad. 

Chad Hartman: So let me, let me ask you about Susan Ellingstad and I am not a question to her law credentials at all, but the issue has been raised, and I'll fully admit,. I raised it too. When the DFL said we're gonna  look at this, don't you think for appearances sake and the belief that this is going to be completely objective. That even if she is a qualified attorney and I will. I will agree with those comments because I've asked others and they've spoken highly over also. But that raises questions though, that this is the same firm that represents the DFL and that this firm has donated money to your campaign in the past. Maybe another lawyer and another firm would have come up with the exact same conclusion. But why create that appearance? 

Keith Ellison: Well, look, the DFL has its own brand to protect. They weren't trying to clear me, they were trying to find out what happened and they did. And so I think they have every right to hire somebody to get to the bottom of what happened, and they did. So I see that as more of a issue that certain political opponents want to raise around optics. But you know, again, the quality of the report should be judged by the care and the detail and the energy and the attention that was put into the report. At the end of the day. I don't think who paid for the report, uh, is a relevant consideration because if a letter came out bad, the DFL would not have spared me, 

Chad Hartman: But they would have lost the race, right? ... 

Keith Ellison: They took all the information that was available, and reviewed it all carefully because they wanted to know what was going to happen for their own purposes...

Listen to the full interview here: