Kim Ellison wants divorce records kept private

Kim Ellison, ex-wife of Congressman Keith Ellison, explained why she is fighting to keep their divorce records private. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Kim Ellison, the ex-wife of Minnesota DFL U.S. House Rep. Keith Ellison, made a public plea Tuesday that the couple’s divorce records should remain private.

The file is scheduled to be unsealed Wednesday under an order issued last week by Hennepin County family court referee Jason Hutchison.

Kim Ellison said the file contains personal details of medical and mental health issues. Ellison, who is a member of the Minneapolis school board, said during a news conference that prior to the 2011 divorce she battled severe depression after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“Keith is fighting to keep the files sealed because I don’t want them unsealed,” Ellison said. “I am the one who wants the files to remain sealed.”

Kim Ellison and Keith Ellison filed a petition this week with the Minnesota Court of Appeals seeking to delay the unsealing so that “sensitive medical and financial documents” can be protected. But the court Tuesday afternoon denied their appeal.

The Star Tribune and Alpha News made the request to unseal the file and make the documents public. Both oppose a delay.

Keith Ellison, who is running for state attorney general against Republican Doug Wardlow, has been dogged by an ex-girlfriend’s allegations that he mistreated her.

Kim Ellison said there is nothing similar in the divorce file. She accused the two news organizations of trying to use her tragedy for personal gain.

“What Alpha News and the Star Tribune are looking for is not in there,” she said. “There was never any abuse in our marriage, and there is nothing in our files to say that there was.”

Nathan Hansen, a lawyer representing Alpha News, said he believes last week’s order from the court referee order already addresses Kim Ellison’s concerns. He said confidential information will be redacted.

“The court administrator is to go through and redact things that would not be public data,” Hansen said. “The referee’s order deals with it.”

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