- Rep. Katie Hill says she has resigned from Congress over fears of “what might come next” following a series of leaked nude photos relating to a relationship with a junior staffer.
- The news outlets RedState and DailyMail.com published nude photos of Hill and reported that the 32-year-old had a three-part relationship with a junior campaign staffer and her husband.
- Hill resigned Sunday, apologizing for the affair. She has threatened to sue the Mail for publishing the photos, which she says broke revenge-porn laws in California.
- RedState also reported that she had been separately accused of having an affair with a congressional staffer, her senior legislative director. She has denied those claims, which are being investigated by the House Ethics Committee.
- In a letter, Hill suggested she had stepped down over fears that what she described as a campaign against her could worsen. “I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt,” Hill wrote.
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The right-of-centre news websites RedState and the Daily Mail this month published claims that Hill, a freshman Democrat, engaged in a “throuple” with her husband and a campaign staffer and in a separate affair with her senior legislative director.
Hill resigned Sunday, saying in a statement posted to Twitter that she made the decision because she was scared of what could follow.
“I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt,” she said.
It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country.
See my official statement below. pic.twitter.com/nG97RQIwvO
— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 27, 2019
Hill wrote that she was resigning to protect her friends, family, supporters, staff, and children from further repercussions.
“This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives,” she said.
She called her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, “a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation.”
Heslep, who is involved in divorce proceedings with Hill, has not commented on the situation or answered allegations that he is responsible for the leaks.
On October 18, RedState cited photos and text messages as indicating Hill had been involved in a two-year consensual sexual relationship with Heslep and a campaign staffer.
The site said Heslep filed for divorce in July after learning of allegations that Hill was separately having the affair with her senior legislative director. Hill has denied having a relationship with a congressional staffer.
RedState published a nude photo of Hill as well as screenshots it said showed text-message conversations.
On October 24, DailyMail.com also published nude photos of Hill and the campaign aide.
Hill confirmed the relationship with the campaign aide in her statement:
“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign. I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologise. I wish nothing but the best for her and hope everyone respects her privacy in this difficult time.”
Hill threatened to sue the Daily Mail, accusing it of publishing nonconsensual pornography, known as revenge porn, which is illegal in California.
Hill’s attorneys wrote a legal letter to the Mail on Thursday, obtained by Politico, demanding that their article be taken down.
“You have also exposed your publication to grave legal consequences for California has some of the strongest criminal laws in the United States against the secretive generation and distribution of private, sexual images,” the letter said.
The House Committee on Ethics on Wednesday said it was investigating the allegation involving the congressional staffer,Reuters reported.
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