Indiana official fights state AG’s subpoena in groping probe

Keywords Government / Law

Indiana’s inspector general is fighting state Attorney General Curtis Hill’s effort to subpoena records from her investigation into allegations that he drunkenly groped four women at a bar last year.

Inspector General Lori Torres filed a motion Wednesday seeking to quash a subpoena that Hill is pursuing in a state disciplinary proceeding he faces, the Indiana Lawyer reported.

Torres’ motion argues that the records from her probe are privileged under state law and their release can be compelled by a court order only “after a showing of particularized need and proof that the information cannot be obtained elsewhere.”

Hill subpoenaed Torres’ office this month seeking statements, photos, videos, documents and other information her office collected while investigating allegations Hill touched the backs or backsides of a state lawmaker and three legislative staffers at an Indianapolis bar during a party celebrating the end of last year’s legislative session.

Torres’ motion states that she has given Hill’s legal team the names and contact information for the witnesses in her office’s investigation. Torres’ motion cites two state statues to support her decision to decline to produce the documents requested in Hill’s “blanket demand.”

His subpoena sets an Aug. 2 deadline for the records.

After the groping allegations became public, Torres’ office began an investigation alongside a special prosecutor into whether Hill’s conduct was criminal or unethical.

The special prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges against Hill last year, but said that he believed Hill’s accusers. The inspector general’s report cited eyewitnesses who called Hill’s behavior inappropriate and “creepy” but said that he didn’t break any state ethics rules.

The four women — Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon of Munster, one Republican legislative staffer and two Democratic legislative aides — filed a federal lawsuit in June accusing Hill of sexual harassment and defamation.

Hill has denied wrongdoing and rebuffed calls from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials to resign, but he faces an October state disciplinary hearing that could threaten his law license.

Losing his state attorney’s license or having it suspended could threaten Hill’s position as attorney general because Indiana law specifies the attorney general must be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana.” Hill is a Republican who was elected in 2016 to a term that runs through the end of 2020.

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