Katie Hill Loses Legal Fight Over Nude Images

Judge tosses ex-congresswoman's suit against the 'Daily Mail,' but she vows to fight on
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 11:15 AM CDT
Katie Hill Loses Legal Fight Over Nude Images
A 2019 photo of then-Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill has lost a legal battle with the Daily Mail over the publication of nude photos that derailed her political career. A judge in Los Angeles dismissed Hill's suit against the British tabloid, ruling that the publication was within its rights to print the images, reports the Orange County Register. After they surfaced, Hill acknowledged having an inappropriate relationship with a female campaign staffer. She has blamed her now former husband, Kenneth Heslep, for leaking the images. Judge Yolanda Orozco said the photos were a matter of "public interest" because they spoke to Hill's "character and qualifications for her position." Hill's attorney had argued, unsuccessfully, that the Daily Mail could simply have summarized the contents of the photos.

Hill categorized the photos as "nonconsensual porn" and said news outlets don't have the right to "sexually degrade and expose public officials," per the Hill. The suit named the Daily Mail, Heslep, and Salem Media Group, owner of the conservative RedState blog, which also published the images. Hill herself responded to the verdict on Twitter while vowing to appeal. "We lost in court because a judge—not a jury—thinks revenge porn is free speech," she wrote. "This fight has massive implications for any woman who ever wants to run for office, so quitting isn't an option." (Earlier this week, Hill recounted her unlikely congressional friendship with Matt Gaetz but said he must resign if the allegations against him are true.)

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