WASHINGTON (AP) — Freshman Rep. Katie Hill, a rising Democratic star in the House, announced her resignation Sunday amid an ethics probe, saying explicit private photos of her with a campaign staffer had been "weaponized" by her abusive husband and political operatives.
The California Democrat, 32, had been hand-picked for a coveted leadership seat. But in recent days, compromising photos of Hill and purported text messages from her to a campaign staffer surfaced online in a right-wing publication and a British tabloid.
The House ethics committee also launched an investigation into whether Hill had an inappropriate relationship with an aide in her congressional office. Hill has denied that.
"It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress," she wrote in a statement released Sunday, adding that her resignation is effective Friday.
"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," she added. "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."
Last year, Hill won a Republican-held seat near Los Angeles. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked Hill for a leadership post.
Hill said she is divorcing her husband. She is one of the few openly bisexual women in Congress.
By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press Writer
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.