Former Rep. Katie Hill sues GOP operative over release of intimate photos, citing revenge porn laws

Katie Hill in Washington D.C. in January 2019. Now she has resigned from Congress and is suing over intimate photos of her that were leaked. Photo by Michell Eloy/KCRW

Katie Hill was a rising star in California Democratic politics. She flipped a longtime Republican district in Santa Clarita in 2018.

Less than a year later, she was forced to resign after compromising photos were leaked. She later admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer, though denied accusations of an inappropriate relationship with a Congressional staffer. The relationship would have violated U.S. House of Representative ethics rules.

Now she’s suing over the photos’ release, saying it violates California’s law against revenge porn. Hill says she’s protected by the First Amendment because California’s revenge porn statute doesn’t apply to public figures.

Former Republican operative Jennifer Van Laar is a defendant in the case, after she published the photos on a conservative blog and with a British tabloid. Now Van Laar wants the case dismissed.

Credits

Guest:
Jessica Levinson - Professor, LMU's Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - @LevinsonJessica

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Angie Perrin, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Bennett Purser