DFL AG candidate Keith Ellison's divorce records unsealed next week

A Hennepin County family court referee has decided to unseal Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison’s divorce file. The file will become public on Oct. 17. 

Two media outlets, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the conservative website Alpha News, had sued to gain access to the divorce file. The file has been sealed since 2012, but the media outlets argued that the public has a right to know what is in the divorce records.

The request comes in the wake of Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, accusing Ellison of physically abusing her during their relationship. 

Ellison’s lawyer, Carla Kjellberg, said earlier this week that the divorce file contained no accusations that Ellison had been abusive toward his ex-wife, Kim Ellison. She argued that unsealing the divorce file would put both Ellisons' security at risk and said the lawsuit was politically motivated. 

In his ruling, Hennepin County Family Court Referee Jason Hutchinson wrote, "the strong presumption of public access to this file significantly outweighs the private interests in maintaining the Order to Seal." 

The unsealing was delayed until Oct. 17 to allow the District Court Administrator's office two full business days to review the documents in the file, but Hutchinson also acknowledged that "prompt transparency in this matter is important."