Former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., filed a lawsuit Tuesday against her ex-husband and several media outlets for distributing “nonconsensual porn,” including naked photos of her and a female staffer, which caused a scandal that forced her to resign from Congress last year.
The lawsuit alleges that Hill’s ex-husband Kenneth Heslep and Mail Media Inc., parent of the Daily Mail, and Salem Media Group Inc., which owns RedState, conspired to and distributed intimate images of her without her consent.
Heslep has previously denied similar allegations after intimate photos of Hill were leaked to the media outlets and rumors swirled that she was in a so-called “throuple” relationship with Heslep and a female congressional staffer.
As the scandal unfolded last October, the Daily Mail published one photo of what appeared to be Hill, 33, undressed and holding a bong, and another of her kissing the campaign staffer.
The photos emerged shortly after the conservative website RedState.org posted screenshots of several text messages between Hill and the staffer detailing the reported end of their three-person relationship earlier in the year and reported on intimate pictures, including a nude photo of Hill brushing the staffer’s hair.
According to the texts that were shown, Hill wanted to focus on her work and suggested that “political risk” was a factor.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, and first reported by NBC News, also alleges Heslep intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her and that the companies engaged in unfair business practices by violating privacy laws.
The suit invokes the First Amendment and says it does not protect the outlets’ attempt to “sexually degrade and expose public officials.”
It comes two weeks after a judge approved a temporary restraining order against Heslep, ordering him to stay at least 100 yards away from Hill, her mother and her sister, as well as her dog, goat and horse. She claimed he had killed her pets in the past to terrorize her.
Hill said Heslep launched a “scorched earth attack” on her after she filed for divorce from him after a 15-year relationship that began when she was 16.
Hill is seeking unspecified monetary damages and wants the images permanently removed from the media outlets’ websites and any physical copies permanently destroyed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.