A Hennepin County Family Court referee agreed to unseal Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN-05) divorce records after multiple local media outlets sued to make them public.
On Friday, Referee Jason Hutchison wrote in an order that the files would be unsealed for the public on Oct. 17, according to The Star Tribune, which joined Alpha News in pushing for their release.
Alpha News announced its lawsuit in September when it claimed that “the voting public of Minnesota should know the contents of his sealed divorce proceedings in order to make the most informed choice possible.”
“Minnesota media are usually not shy about asking for such things,” Alpha News wrote. “While other media outlets prefer to let Minnesotans remain in the dark, we at Alpha News are glad to try and shine some light.”
On Sept. 25, The Star Tribune joined the effort to make the records public, arguing that the “public interest” surrounding the recent domestic-abuse allegations against Ellison as well as his ex-wife’s public support of him warrants their release.
Kim Ellison later released a statement via the Ellison campaign expressing her opposition to unsealing the divorce records.
“Our divorce simply isn’t the public’s business, and therefore, when we separated, we jointly asked the court to seal the file. Now, one month before a closely contested election for Minnesota attorney general, a conservative group wants to probe our divorce file in search of something to use against Keith in this race,” she wrote, saying that her ex-husband “never abused me in any way before, during, or after our marriage.”
Attorney Carla Kjellberg, who also represented Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) in her divorce, filed a motion in opposition to The Star Tribune and Alpha News on behalf of both Ellisons.
That motion was ignored, and Hutchison has now ordered the divorce records to be unsealed next week. Their release comes amid an already tumultuous campaign for Ellison, who is still dealing with domestic-abuse allegations from his ex-girlfriend.
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