A former California Democratic representative who resigned after she admitted to having an affair with a female staffer has filed for bankruptcy due to legal fees.
Katie Hill filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the Daily Mail and multiple conservative journalists for publishing nude photos of her in 2019. She alleges that her ex-husband sent the photos to the publications.
The 41-page suit argued that the First Amendment does not give outlets the “carte blanche right” to “sexually degrade and expose public officials.” Along with the Daily Mail, RedState.com deputy managing editor Jennifer Van Laar, radio show host Joseph Messina, and others were listed as defendants.
Hill accused her ex-husband, Kenny Heslep, of violating state law by releasing intimate text messages and “nonconsensual porn” as “a revenge vendetta” utilizing the outlets named in the suit. The lawsuit also sought damages for emotional distress.
Hill now owes approximately $200,000 in attorney fees to the defendants after the suit was dismissed on the grounds of free speech. Hill admitted to filing for bankruptcy protection in a post on Twitter, which was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
“Victims of cyber exploitation are being let down by our legal system, and I have gotten an unfortunately personal look at the damage that can do.” the post began.
“When a vengeful person, political opponents, and a global tabloid conspired to take me and publish naked photos of me — including those taken without my knowledge or consent — a judge ruled that my naked body was in the public interest, and that I have no right to hold accountable those responsible for this assault to my privacy and dignity.
“I incurred substantial financial loss to fight this case because I believe it was my responsibility to do so to try to protect future victims of cyber exploitation,” she continued. “The consequences to me personally meant that I had to recently file bankruptcy. Still, I don’t regret doing so, despite the severe and lasting financial repercussions of the offensive and just plain wrong ruling.
“We need a federal cyber exploitation law to protect victims who are currently left to personally fight attacks and abuse without a legal system to support them,” Hill concluded. “I’m in a different chapter of my life now – being a mom and getting a fresh start – but I will continue fighting this fight on behalf of all victims as long as I have to.”
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