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(CN) – Convicted former Trump aide George Papadopoulos filed papers Tuesday looking to fill the congressional seat left vacant by Democratic Representative Katie Hill who resigned from office after explicit private photos of her with a campaign aide were leaked.
Papadopoulos filed his intent to run for California’s 25th Congressional District, which Hill won as part of the “blue wave” that handed Democrats control of the House of Representatives in November 2018. Hill unseated GOP incumbent Steve Knight to represent a district that includes portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Knight also announced this week he intends to run for his old seat.
Papadopoulos, 32, served a 12-day prison sentence at a minimum-security facility in 2018 after pleading guilty to lying to investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
In interviews with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Papadopoulos lied about his communications with London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, who claimed to have connections to the Kremlin. Later when Papadopoulos met with the professor, Mifsud related that Kremlin operatives had “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, including thousands of emails.
Papadopoulos hinted at a congressional run on Twitter last week. “California’s 25th congressional district is wide open for the taking. Someone has to step up. I love my state too much to see it run down by candidates like Hill,” he tweeted.
An email to Papadopoulos for comment was not immediately answered.
Sen. Kamala Harris told Buzzfeed News this week that Hill was the victim of “cyber exploitation” and the attack was meant to embarrass her and discourage other women from seeking office.
Hill claims her estranged husband, Kenneth Heslep, leaked the private photos and text messages – which were posted on a right-wing blog – amid a contentious divorce.
“Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. It’s also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options,” Hill said in a statement announcing her resignation. “However, I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.”
Hill’s resignation effectively ended a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations she was sexually involved with a congressional staffer, a violation of congressional rules passed in response to the #MeToo movement. She acknowledged having a relationship with the female campaign aide before her election – and therefore out of the scope of the committee’s probe – but denied she had an affair with the male congressional staffer.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has not yet set a date for the special election to fill Hill’s seat.
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