Dec 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Katie Hill sues ex-husband, Daily Mail, RedState over "nonconsensual porn"

Photo of Katie Hill speaking from behind a podium against the backdrop of the White House

Former Rep. Katie Hill. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Katie Hill is suing her ex-husband and the owners of the Daily Mail and conservative blog RedState, alleging they distributed “nonconsensual porn” by publishing nude photos of her without her consent, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Hill resigned from Congress in 2019 after the publication of nude photos and stories about her personal life, and amid an ethics probe into allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

Details: The lawsuit accuses Hill's ex-husband of releasing private information, text messages and photos as "a revenge vendetta" against her, per NBC News.

  • The suit names Salem Media Group Inc., Mail Media, Inc., Jennifer Van Laar, the deputy managing editor of RedState, and Joseph Messina, the host of "The Real Side" Radio Show, among others as defendants.
  • It argues that the First Amendment does not give outlets the right to “sexually degrade and expose public officials.”

The big picture: Hill filed the suit in Los Angeles two weeks after a judge granted a temporary restraining order against Kenny Heslep, her ex-husband.

  • She said she had feared for her life in their 15 years together and alleged that he had choked her unconscious and threatened her with firearms, among other acts of violence, per NBC News.
  • Three days after the restraining order was approved, the Daily Mail published a nude photo of Hill that had been taken by Heslep.
  • Salem Media Group Inc. and Mail Media, Inc. did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Elected in 2018, Hill represented California’s 25th district in northern Los Angeles County. She resigned after the House launched an ethics investigation into the allegations of her improper relationship with a congressional staffer.

  • She admitted to a "consensual" but "inappropriate" relationship with someone on her campaign but denied having an affair with a congressional staffer, per NBC News.

Go deeper: Hill feared for her life after allegations of improper staff relationship

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