Ex-Rep. Katie Hill’s lawsuit pits 1st Amendment against California’s revenge-porn law

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Former Rep. Katie Hill was a rising Democratic star who represented northern L.A. County before stepping down from Congress in 2019 after salacious details and pictures about her personal life were published without her consent.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Former Rep. Katie Hill was a rising Democratic star who represented northern L.A. County before stepping down from Congress in 2019 after salacious details and pictures about her personal life were published without her consent.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The publication of private, intimate pictures of former Rep. Katie Hill that drove her to resign from office will be contested in court this week in an argument that pits the 1st Amendment against California’s revenge-porn law.

The onetime Democratic rising star who briefly represented northern Los Angeles County made worldwide news when she stepped down from Congress in late 2019 after salacious details and pictures about her personal life were published without her consent.

On Wednesday, the court will hear a motion by defendant Jennifer Van Laar to strike the lawsuit, claiming it is an attempt to silence speech that is protected by the 1st Amendment. Van Laar, a former GOP campaign operative and journalist, published provocative pictures of Hill on a conservative website and shared them with a British tabloid.

Hill contends that the two media companies, Van Laar and Kenneth Heslep, Hill’s ex-husband, violated California’s revenge-porn law by distributing and/or publishing images including photographs that showed her nude while brushing another woman’s hair, holding a bong and sunbathing.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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