Keith Ellison's accuser speaks on camera for the first time

Karen Monahan is the woman who claims she was screamed at and dragged off a bed by Rep. Keith Ellison back in 2016. You may recall that this allegation initially surfaced when Monahan’s adult son wrote a lengthy Facebook post saying he’d discovered a video of the incident while using his mother’s computer. Monahan subsequently shared with the media some post-breakup text messages she’d exchanged with Ellison but has not released the video which would confirm her story.

Yesterday afternoon, Monahan sat down for her first on-camera interview with CBS News. This first clip contains Monahan describing the incident in which she was dragged off a bed by Ellison. CBS News notes that Ellison has denied the incident or that a video of it exists. As for why she’s not releasing the tape, Monahan claims it is too traumatic and says her word should be enough.

Thus far, Monahan’s story is a repeat of what her son has previously alleged to be the case. But in this next clip, Monahan claims that Ellison met with her at a cafe prior to his run for Minnesota AG and expressed concern that she might tweet something about him and the #MeToo movement.

“The conversation went straight to ‘Hey, you know, I noticed that you’ve been tweeting a lot, you know, about abuse and the #MeToo…,'” Monahan says. She continues, “He goes, ‘I don’t want to have to look over my shoulder all the time wondering when you’re going to tweet something and, you know, say it’s me.'”

Monahan says she replied, “I never ruined your career. I didn’t choose to do the things you did.”

The Ellison camp has responded to the new allegation about the meeting at the cafe. From the Star Tribune:

Monahan said she met with Ellison the night before he filed for attorney general and that he wanted to know if she was planning to talk publicly about their relationship. The Ellison campaign provided what appear to be texts between Monahan and Ellison in which she requested that meeting, on an unrelated subject. A spokesman for Ellison said he maintains that once they met, Monahan brought up the alleged video, not Ellison.

First, that’s an admission that he did meet with Monahan as she claims which doesn’t hurt her credibility. Second, Ellison became aware that Monahan was thinking about the alleged incident before he even ran for AG. He also knew she claimed to have a video of this. So none of what she’s been saying this week came as a shock to Ellison. He got a heads up this was coming.

Still, at this point, the video clip is probably hurting Monahan’s case more than it’s helping. If she had come forward with this story without any mention of a video, I think a lot of people would have believed her. But the fact that she’s choosing not to release the one item which would prove her story to be true seems odd. Why would she hesitate to do that?

It’s possible that when Ellison was yelling some choice words at her she was doing the same back at him. Maybe she’s not ready to have that side of herself broadcast on national television. But she could easily show the clip to someone at CBS on the promise that they not show it or release it. At least that way an independent 3rd party could confirm that a) the tape exists and b) it shows more or less what she claims it does. That would probably be enough to sink Ellison.

The one thing I will say for Monahan’s story is that it seems to be following a kind of arc. Her son claims that when he first confronted her last year she denied everything. Then, when he brought up the tape, she admitted it was true. When he eventually wrote about what he’d seen, she remained in the background. Then she communicated with reporters. Then she wrote about her experiences in her own words. Now she is appearing on camera. So Monahan is quickly becoming more comfortable telling her story and maybe that means the release of the video, at least to a few reporters, is the next step.

Meanwhile, at least one women’s group had decided not to hold its fire because Ellison is progressive. Yesterday, NOW release a statement calling on Ellison to drop out of the race:

If the allegations are true, Keith Ellison has no right to serve as the state’s chief legal officer. And he had no right to run under false pretenses, as a man standing wrongly accused. Voters had only his word on that claim, and the investigation is ongoing.

In the meantime, Keith Ellison must withdraw from the race and not put Minnesotans through another cycle of political scandal. They’ve been through enough.

It’s very simple. We believe survivors.

Politics doesn’t matter. We believe survivors.

That’s something but as I noted last night, most of the Democrats who were outspoken about #MeToo a few months ago have been sitting on their hands with their mouths clamped shut.