MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The ex-wife of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison never accuses him of abusing her in a divorce file made public Wednesday.
However, Keith Ellison once alleged his ex-wife, Kim Ellison, physically abused him throughout their 25-year marriage. Keith Ellison said his then-wife bit him, hit him, and once pulled a knife on him, forcing him to spend nights in hotels and friends’ homes.
Two media outlets sued to get access to the file after Keith Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, accused him of physically and emotionally abusing her during their own relationship. Ellison has denied those claims.
“It was very humiliating to admit that I was a domestic abuse victim,” wrote Keith Ellison in the 2015 court filing. “(Kim Ellison) constantly blamed her physical abuse of me on her depression and MS (Multiple Sclerosis), but would always do it again. Finally, I had to leave the marriage.”
Keith Ellison is now the DFL candidate for Minnesota attorney general. Kim Ellison is a Minneapolis School Board member.
Keith Ellison’s 2015 filing came in response to his ex-wife’s request for more money, called “spousal maintenance” in court records. Kim Ellison said she had lost her job as her Multiple Sclerosis worsened and was no longer able to pay her bills. A court ultimately denied Kim Ellison’s request.
Kim and Keith Ellison had both fought to keep their divorce file sealed. Keith Ellison said in a statement Wednesday that he was “extremely disappointed” they had become public, and that he regretted not understanding his wife’s illness.
“I attribute the difficulties in our marriage to the disease and my failure to understand it,” Keith Ellison said. “I was not nearly sensitive enough to the symptoms of her medical condition at the time, and for that I am deeply sorry.”
In her own statement Wednesday, Kim Ellison did not address whether she abused her then-husband. Instead, she pointed out that the file contained no abuse allegations against Keith Ellison.
“This should be the headline of every story today, and it should be the end of the allegations against Keith,” wrote Kim Ellison.
While Kim Ellison is supporting her ex-husband against Monahan’s accusations, Keith Ellison in 2015 defended Monahan against Kim Ellison.
Keith Ellison wrote that his then-wife “harassed female friends and colleagues on the phone and through texts.” The women included Monahan, he wrote in his 2015 court filing.
The divorce case is not over. Kim Ellison is again seeking additional spousal maintenance from her ex-husband.
In a May 2018 filing, she said the divorce had required Keith Ellison to provide health insurance for her. The insurance company dropped her coverage, she said.
Keith Ellison faces Republican Doug Wardlow. The election is Nov. 6.
Full statement from Rep. Keith Ellison:
“I am extremely disappointed that the Court has gone back on its agreement to seal Kim and my divorce file, agreeing to open it at the request of a far-right propaganda outlet with a history of racism and religious bigotry, Alpha News, and the Star Tribune.
“I understand perhaps better than most that as a public official, my personal life falls under higher scrutiny than others. But to pry into the details of a sealed divorce file that the Court previously ordered closed, on the eve of an election, is shameful and outrageous.
“Kim Ellison is a wonderful person. We met in driver’s training as teenagers and raised four beautiful children together, who are now awesome adults. We had a storybook marriage until the onset of her illness, which was not diagnosed until long after she was suffering the effects of it. One of the great regrets of my life is that I did not appreciate the debilitating effects of Kim’s illness until the doctors told us that it was Multiple Sclerosis and major depression. I attribute the difficulties in our marriage to the disease and my failure to understand it. I was not nearly sensitive enough to the symptoms of her medical condition at the time, and for that I am deeply sorry.
“Kim and I have rebuilt a strong friendship as parents to our four wonderful children. I am proud of the person Kim is. We are family, and I stand by her.”