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Former congresswoman Katie Hill heads to trial against ex-husband over abuse allegations

Josh Marcus
·2-min read
<p>Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., and Hill's ex-husband, Kenneth Heslep, pose during a ceremonial swearing in on Capitol Hill in Washington during the opening session of the 116th Congress. </p> ((AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File))

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., and Hill's ex-husband, Kenneth Heslep, pose during a ceremonial swearing in on Capitol Hill in Washington during the opening session of the 116th Congress.

((AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File))

Former California congresswoman Katie Hill, who resigned in 2019 after the leak of nude photos of her and a campaign staffer, with whom she and her ex-husband had a sexual relationship, will be heading to trial against her former spouse, The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

Ms Hill accuses her ex-husband of leaking the photos and has been seeking a restraining order preventing him from releasing what she says are further revealing photos and confidential information. Her ex-husband, Kenny Heslep, denies leaking the photos.

The pair had previously been seeking a settlement over the restraining order issue, but were unable to find agreement, the Mail reported, leading to the potential trial. They were officially divorced in September, and in December, Ms Hill won a restraining order against Mr Heslep, after accusing him of years of physical and sexual abuse, threats with guns, and harming her pets, all of which he denies.

Attorneys for Ms Hill and Mr Heslep did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

“I have been subject to Kenny’s physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse for more than 15 years including, but not limited to, the many times Kenny has threatened me with guns, killed and hurt my pets in front of me, choked me until I lost consciousness and publicly released sexually explicit photos of me, solely for the purpose of destroying my life and career in Congress after I had gathered the courage to leave him,” she said in recent court documents.

“At this point, I am finally seeking a restraining order because I am afraid that he will not give up until I am dead,” she added.

Mr Heslep denies these allegations, and has said a computer hack led to the release of the suggestive photos.

“There has never been any abuse or domestic violence in our relationship,” he wrote in a declaration to the court. “The allegations are false.”

Ms Hill has also accused her ex-husband of chocking her to the point of unconsciousness during sex, and sicking his dogs on her cat until it was dead, which he denies.

“I never choked Ms. Hill or put my hands on her during sex or at any other time,” he wrote in the court documents. “I have never engaged in anything that could be construed as choking behavior.”

Ms Hill resigned in October of 2019 and cited a gendered “double standard”.

In an emotional floor speech announcing the move, she said she was leaving “because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalised on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse – this time with the entire country watching.”

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