Skip to content

Katie Hill attorney asks to delay suit against ex-husband


Until former congresswoman emerges from bankruptcy

An attorney for former Rep. Katie Hill is asking a judge to put a hold on the ex-congresswoman's revenge porn case against Hill's former husband until the onetime politician is done with bankruptcy proceedings.

Hill sued her former spouse, Kenneth Heslep, and multiple media groups in Los Angeles Superior Court in December 2020, alleging nude photos of her were published without her permission. Heslep is the only remaining defendant.

In a sworn declaration filed on June 7 with Judge Serena R. Murillo, Hill's attorney, Carrie Goldberg, says her client filed for bankruptcy in June 2022, putting an automatic stay in the case against Heslep.

The bankruptcy trustee is the only person authorized to pursue Hill's claim against Heslep because the remaining claims belong to the debtor and are subject solely to the trustee's administration, Goldberg says.

Judge Yolanda Orozco, the previous judge in the case who has since retired, had set a hearing for June 21 on why the case should not be dismissed because no activity had occurred for some. The media defendants were dismissed on free-speech grounds, forcing Hill to be assessed thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees.

Orozco previously said she was sympathetic to the impact of the publications of photos on Hill, calling Heslep's decisions to make the images available to the media “tragic and unnecessary.”

Hill submitted a lengthy sworn declaration in opposition to one of the media defendants' dismissal motion.

“My nude body is not a matter of public interest,” Hill said. “Moreover, even if my alleged relationship was a matter of  public interest, that does not justify the illegal worldwide dissemination of my nude image. I was humiliated and traumatized by the circulation of the nude image.”

Hill alleged in her court papers that she lived in fear that if she ever tried to leave, Heslep would kill them both and their animals. She “suffered extreme emotional distress, attempted suicide and was forced to quit her job, which in this case was the representative of California's 25th Congressional District, one of the most difficult-to-get jobs in the universe,” her court papers state.

Hill, 35, and Heslep officially divorced in October 2020.

Hill, a Democrat, resigned in 2019 after the nude photos were published and news emerged that she had a three-way relationship with her husband and a campaign staffer. She was also accused of having an affair with a member of her congressional staff.

She publicly blamed her then-husband for the release of the photos. Speaking in Congress in 2019, she decried a “misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.”

The 25th Congressional District includes the Santa Clarita Valley and portions of the northern San Fernando and Antelope valleys and eastern Ventura County. The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill's 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight.

The seat is now held by Republican Mike Garcia.