Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yolanda Orozco on Wednesday ordered Hill to pay about $220,000 in attorneys’ fees, with $105,000 of it going to the parent company of the Daily Mail, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“A judge just ordered me to PAY the Daily Mail more than $100k for the privilege of them publishing nude photos of me obtained from an abuser,” Hill tweeted with a link to a fundraiser and a call to boycott the publication. “The justice system is broken for victims.”
A judge just ordered me to PAY the Daily Mail more than $100k for the privilege of them publishing nude photos of me obtained from an abuser.
The justice system is broken for victims.
— Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA) June 2, 2021
The judge dismissed Hill’s lawsuit on April 7 on First Amendment grounds, concluding that the nude photos published of her were a matter of public interest. Hill argued that her ex-husband, who she said took the photos, sent them to the Daily Mail in order to inflict emotional harm.
She plans to appeal the rulings that dismissed the case, her spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times.
The photos that showed her naked while brushing another woman’s hair and holding a bong were published by the Daily Mail in 2019. Shortly before that, conservative website Red State published a story alleging the California congresswoman, who is openly bisexual, had an affair with a male congressional staffer and that she and her now ex-husband, Kenneth Heslep, had a previous relationship with a female campaign worker.
She denied the first allegation but admitted to the second and acknowledged the relationship was inappropriate given she was a subordinate.
Both led to her resignation from Congress, where she was the representative of California’s 25th Congressional District.
The judge previously ordered Hill to pay about $84,000 to the attorneys of the managing editor of Red State, Jennifer Van Laar, and about $30,000 to the lawyers representing radio producer Joseph Messina, whom Hill accused of being a part of the plot to release the photos but later dropped the claim.
Krista Lee Baughman, an attorney representing Van Laar and Messina, stated the ruling showed that “those who file speech-chilling [intimidation] lawsuits must pay the price.”
“If you have a problem with the way the Legislature wrote the revenge-porn statute, that needs to be addressed in the Legislature,” she said. “The court is duty-bound to follow the writing. In this case, the statute itself clearly had a public interest exception.”
California’s revenge porn law, from 2013, criminalizes the distribution of private images without the person’s consent though there are exceptions if such a photo is in the “public interest.”
The media outlets argued that the photos of Hill failed to reach the requirements set forth by the law.
Author: Mike Brest
Source: Washington Examiner: Former Rep. Katie Hill ordered to pay $200,000 in revenge pornography case