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Home / Katie Hill

Former Rep. Katie Hill settles revenge porn case against ex-husband

Former Rep. Katie Hill and her former husband have settled the revenge porn case she filed against him and several media organizations over the unauthorized distribution of intimate photos of the onetime politician.

Hill sued her ex-spouse, Kenneth Heslep, and the news groups, in Los Angeles Superior Court in December 2020, alleging nude photos of her were published without her permission. Heslep was the only remaining defendant and Hill’s lawyers filed court papers on Wednesday with Judge Kerry Bensinger stating that an accord was reached, but no terms were divulged.

On June 21, Judge Serena R. Murillo put a stay on the case in light of Hill’s bankruptcy filing a year earlier. The media defendants were previously dismissed on free-speech grounds, and Hill was subsequently assessed thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Hill submitted a lengthy sworn declaration in opposition to one of the media defendants’ dismissal motion.

“My nude body is not a matter of public interest,” Hill said. “Moreover, even if my alleged relationship was a matter of  public interest, that does not justify the illegal worldwide dissemination of my nude image. I was humiliated and traumatized by the circulation of the nude image.”

Hill alleged in her court papers that she lived in fear that if she left Heslep, he would kill them both as well as their animals. She “suffered extreme emotional distress, attempted suicide and was forced to quit her job, which in this case was the representative of California’s 25th Congressional District, one of the most difficult-to-get jobs in the universe,” her court papers stated.

Hill, now 36, and Heslep officially divorced in October 2020.

Hill, a Democrat, resigned in 2019 after the nude photos were published and news emerged that she had a three-way relationship with her husband and a campaign staffer. She was also accused of having an affair with a member of her congressional staff.

Hill publicly blamed her then-husband for the release of the photos. Speaking in Congress in 2019, she decried a “misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.”

The 25th Congressional District includes the Santa Clarita Valley and portions of the northern San Fernando and Antelope valleys and eastern Ventura County. The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill’s 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight.

The seat is now held by Republican Mike Garcia.

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