Ellison family denounces Alpha News, Star Tribune after release of divorce file

The file revealed no allegations of abuse against Keith Ellison, but detailed his ex-wife battle with illness.
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Keith Ellison and his ex-wife Kim have criticized two Minnesota media outlets for forcing the release of their divorce file, which went public on Wednesday.

The Star Tribune joined a legal action taken by right-wing news site, Alpha News MN, calling for the unsealing of the file into the Ellisons' 2012 divorce.

The motions were justified as being in the public interest, after Keith Ellison was accused of alleged domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, as he announced his run for Attorney General in Minnesota.

But the Ellisons had warned the media they wouldn't find allegations of abuse against Keith Ellison in the divorce file, and this was indeed the case when the file was made public.

Instead, the file contained details of Kim Ellison's battle with multiple sclerosis and mental illness, which in turn cause her to be abusive towards her ex-husband.

In a post on Facebook on Wednesday, Kim Ellison, who is a member of the Minneapolis Board of Education, criticized the judge who allowed the records to be unsealed, as well as the media outlets for making the request in the first place.

"I am ashamed that a judge has allowed an alt-right website that is openly working to defeat Keith, and the Star Tribune that followed their lead, to exploit and stigmatize my illness for their own ends.

"My divorce file contains details of the most difficult time in my life, when I was struggling with my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I was scared, confused, worried, angry, and became depressed. It is a record of that time that I never thought a court would force me to share with the public."

While most media outlets were restrained in what they reported from the divorce file once it emerged it contained no abuse allegations against Keith Ellison, Alpha News MN's was more extensive in its detail of the breakdown of the Ellisons' marriage and Kim Ellison's battle with MS and depression.

Alpha News responds to criticism

Kim's comments echoed those made by Keith Ellison, who is going against GOPer Doug Wardlow in November's election, who said he was "extremely disappointed" the court released the records at the "request of a far-right propaganda outlet" as well as the Strib.

The couple's son, Isaiah, has also posted on the release of the files, saying that his parents have renounced the statements they made in their divorce decree and since their split he has seen them "grow as co-parents and in many ways, mend their relationship with each other."

He called for an apology and an explanation from the Star Tribune, saying it "supposedly began this case in an effort to corroborate a fanciful and untrue accusation made against my father," but "ended up dragging my entire family through one of the most difficult situations in our lives."

Meanwhile he accused Alpha News of "selectively releasing parts of the decree in an effort to maximize shock value."

In a statement to BMTN, Alpha News editor-in-chief Christine Bauman stood by her outlet's decision to push for the release of the divorce file.

"Alpha News stands by our decision to advocate for the unsealing of Rep. Keith Ellison’s divorce files," she said. "In Minnesota, divorce files are open to the public—that is the rule, not the exception.

"Rep. Keith Ellison has been accused of domestic violence against a former girlfriend. With these allegations in mind, we at Alpha News believed the voting public of Minnesota should know the contents of his sealed divorce proceedings in order to make the most informed choice possible.

"The public deserves transparency from our public officials, and as a news organization we felt it was out duty to help facilitate that."

While divorce files are typically public in Minnesota, judges do have the discretion to seal them for good reason at the request of both involved parties.

The Star Tribune says it has no further comment to make at this time.

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