By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota Congressman denied all wrongdoing in his first interview since #MeToo allegations surfaced against him.

In a WCCO exclusive, Rep. Keith Ellison also said he cannot understand why ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan accused him of abuse. The two had been in a relationship for several years, which ended in 2016.

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WCCO’s Esme Murphy spoke with Ellison Wednesday afternoon, one day after winning the DFL primary in his bid to become the state’s next attorney general.

Ellison said he wants the record to be clear that he never abused his former girlfriend.

“I know I can’t just run past this controversy and not address it, which is why I’m here with you today,” Ellison said.

Rep. Keith Ellison (credit: CBS)

Two-and-a-half days before voters went to the polls, Rep. Ellison’s former girlfriend’s son posted on Facebook that he had seen a video of the Congressman dragging his mother off a bed by her feet in his home.

Esme Murphy: Did you every abuse her in any way?

Keith Ellison: No.

EM: Physically? Emotionally?

KE: No.

EM: Did you ever drag her off a bed by her feet?

KE: No, absolutely not.

EM: She has said and insists that there is a video of this. Is there a video?

KE: There couldn’t be. There couldn’t be such a thing as that.

EM: And why couldn’t there be?

KE: Because I never did that. Simply didn’t happen.

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Monahan told Minnesota Public Radio she was not going to release the video.

“It is humiliating, it is traumatizing for everyone’s family involved, and for me,” Monahan said.

Karen Monahan (credit: Ahmed Tharwart)

Later, Monahan told CNN she had lost the video in a storage locker.

Ellison said the two were in a long-term relationship.

“We went to the Redwood Forest, we went to Istanbul one time,” Ellison said. “There was love in the relationship.”

He said they broke up two years ago, but remained close. He said she even called him this spring when she ran out of gas.

“In late May, she called me and told me she was stranded on the highway and needed gasoline, and I got gasoline and got it to her,” he said.

Ellison said he has no idea why Monahan would make the claims she has.

EM: What would you say to her right now? Because she’s speaking out and continues to speak out on Twitter and social media.

KE: I’d say, “Look, we loved each other, we don’t have to destroy each other.”

EM: It’s obviously very emotional for you. Is that what you think she’s trying to do?

KE: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t want to speculate on motive, I don’t know. I’ve asked myself many times, why? But I’m not going to try to speculate on motive.

After WCCO-TV reached out to Monahan and she said she’s sticking to her original story.

There is an allegation making the rounds on social media of another incident in 2005, where a woman accused Ellison of assault. WCCO reviewed court documents Ellison’s staff provided to us. According to those documents, a judge issued a restraining order against the woman for harassing Ellison after he did not hire her for a job. When she tried to get a restraining order against him, a judge denied that order.

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Rep. Ellison says he now wants to move on and focus on his campaign for Minnesota attorney general.

Esme Murphy