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A reporter who co-authored a story featuring nude photos of Katie Hill—one with a female campaign staff member and another in which Hill holds a bong appearing to contain marijuana—has been dismissed as a defendant in the former congresswoman’s revenge porn suit.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yolanda Orozco found that reporter Jennifer Van Laar, in writing for the Daily Mail, had shown the photos were matters of legitimate interest involving a public official because they addressed Hill’s character and qualifications for her position.

Orozco said she was sympathetic to the impact of the publications of photos on Hill, who suffered a second legal setback in her case in two days. Last week, Orozco removed the Daily Mail as a defendant, also on free-speech grounds.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Ms. Hill, no question about it,’’ the judge said. She called the decision by Hill’s ex-husband, Kenneth Heslep, to make the images available to the media, “tragic and unnecessary.’’

However, Orozco said today’s motion dealt with the actions of Van Laar and that the First Amendment gives the media wide protection “whether we like the media’s politics or not.’’

Hill’s attorney, Carrie Goldberg, told the judge her decision will have the exact opposite effect the Legislature hoped in enacting the revenge porn law to protect citizens, mostly women, from the unauthorized publication of nude images.

According to media reports, Van Laar was a campaign advisor to former Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), who was unseated by Hill in 2018. A story co-written by Van Laar that appeared in the Daily Mail in October 2019 featuring nude photos of Hill with the female campaign staffer followed a series of reports published on RedState.com, a conservative political site that lists Van Laar as its deputy managing editor.

The 33-year-old Hill submitted a lengthy sworn declaration in opposition to Van Laar’s dismissal motion.

“Van Laar knew, or should have known, that I had a reasonable expectation that the images would remain private,’’ Hill said. “Van Laar refers to herself as a journalist in her declaration. I believe that California’s law against the non-consensual distribution of intimate images is widely known and believe that someone that describes themselves as a journalist would be aware of it too.’’