A Wordle
by Steve Timmer
Oct 8, 2018, 2:30 PM


I have observed to multiple people that the story of how Karen Monahan got to be a story is more interesting than the Monahan story itself. I have tried to interest some of these same people in that story, but get the reply, We don’t do meta. Pity, because the meta-story informs the other story.

After Lori Swanson blew up the DFL state convention and ditched the AG’s office, Keith Ellison decided to run for attorney general. Many leading DFLers were unhappy with that decision because Keith was such a vote getter in the Fifth District, but there are only so many frequent flyer miles that a person can use. Ask Tim Walz about that. (Kidding; I don’t know if they get to keep their miles.) Moreover, a person can run for an office if he wants; it’s still a mostly-free country.

But somebody really wanted to mess with Keith Ellison’s plans to be the “people’s attorney general.”

By Karen Monahan’s account, she and Keith Ellison had a relationship (she was a live-in girlfriend) that ended ugly in 2016. My sense of it, from social media accounts, and it is admittedly only a sense, is that Monahan has been looking for revenge since the breakup. You will have to agree it is not as though that has never happened in the history of relationships.

Reports are that Monahan sought to meet with Ellison just before the filing deadline for the AG’s office in May. Based on the timing it is safe to infer that the purpose of the requested meeting was to dissuade Keith Ellison from filing for the attorney general office. Who would that benefit? Well, everybody else who was running for attorney general.

Keith filed anyway.

It may surprise you to know, that even though LeftMN is just a quiet backwater on the web, it does have sources. I have heard from multiple sources – who desire to remain anonymous, for perhaps obvious reasons – that PR people tried to shop her “drag Karen off the bed” story to media leading up to the primary. But nobody bought it. So, what to do?

Naturally, you turn to Facebook! On the Saturday night before the primary in August, Monahan’s son published an account of the “drag Karen off the bed” story. He said he “happened” onto the evidence by using Mom’s laptop. The son’s agency is the first suspicious thing in the story.

Within literally minutes, the Hilstrom campaign republished the story without reflection or any kind of confirmation. I learned about it quickly from a relative of someone on the Hilstrom campaign. It all happened with breathtaking speed. Somehow, I think it was coordinated. But maybe that’s just me. I observed in response to the person who sent me the story, Gee, this is a little uncorroborated. Oh, no, was the reply, there are texts, and emails, and a video!

Based on how the story was propagated, it would be hard to conclude that the Hilstrom campaign wasn’t behind it. I think it was. Frankly, it was delusional to think it would work.

Both Swanson and Hilstrom are Hatchlings. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I believe the plan all along was for Swanson and Hilstrom to win primaries for governor and AG. This was probably also delusional.

The single claim of physical abuse alleged by Karen Monahan is that Keith Ellison pulled her off a bed. Even that claim was later amended by Monahan, according to a story in the Intercept, to say that he pulled off her shoe.

Ellison has said all along that it didn’t happen.

At various points, Monahan has said she had a video, that it was hacked off of her computer (by sinister forces), that the video was on a thumb drive in storage at her ex-husband’s, that she couldn’t find it, and that it is too painful to show anyone.

You know, #IBelieveWomen, but the problem is figuring out which story to believe here.

Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. In English: there are no free fibs. There are even established and adopted jury instructions that say a jury may disregard as incredible the entire testimony of a witness who has been demonstrated to be untruthful about one thing.

Monahan’s inconsistencies are not about immaterial things, either.

Karen Monahan has told us in recent days that she hired Andrew Parker as her attorney, and he has appeared with her in interviews.

monahan tweet

Karen Monahan tweets

Parker was also on Tucker Carlson’s show and At Issue locally this weekend without Monahan. Really? Monahan didn’t hire a lawyer; she hired a salesman.

Incidentally, if “letting things unfold” doesn’t sound a little manipulative to you, you aren’t paying attention.

Of all the lawyers in Minnesota, perhaps save Doug Wardlow himself, I cannot think of anyone more likely to damage the already-fragile credibility of Karen Monahan than Parker. [Gee, Mr. Parker, I’ve been through the attorney listing, starting at “A,” and I got all the way to “P” before I found a good lawyer to represent me. It’s just karma, I guess!]

Parker is the attorney who hired Doug Wardlow for an associate position at Parker Rosen, his first – and only as far as I know – real private practice job. Parker offered an opinion in the Strib about what a terrific non-partisan fellow Wardlow was in the office.

Doug Wardlow didn’t need to worry about bringing right-wing politics into the office at Parker Rosen; they were already there. Andrew Parker has a radio show on AM1280 the Patriot, sharing the airwaves with, inter alia, Mitch Berg, a well-known right-wing radio host, and formerly the Sons of Liberty (Bradlee Dean & Co.).

Lawyers don’t have a formal Hippocratic Oath, but we are supposed to have a fidelity to the client’s interest first of all. If he really wanted people to believe her, he’d be the last person to offer himself up as her mouthpiece. He is wretchedly conflicted. Andrew Parker’s real client here is Doug Wardlow.

When lawyers use a client as a stalking horse for some other cause, the client, or the lawyer, or both, often come to grief. The best example of that I can think of, and which regular readers here will recognize, is Michelle MacDonald’s representation of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Wardlow and MacDonald are fellow travelers, by the way. MacDonald used her representation of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to advance a bizarre theory that the family courts in Minnesota were unconstitutional because of “natural law.” If you know that case, you know the trail of destruction that was left.

I hope – and suspect – that Parker’s “representation” is free, because that is what it is worth. It is actually worse than worthless; it is affirmatively harmful to Karen Monahan who seems to have been serially used in this entirely lamentable affair by opponents of Keith Ellison.

Update: A reader tells me that Monahan’s amendment of the story to shoe pulling was originally reported in the Pioneer Press.

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