INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A
lawyer for Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said Wednesday that calls
for the Republican’s resignation over allegations that he drunkenly groped a
state lawmaker and three legislative staffers are “pure hysteria” based on a
flawed initial investigation.
Attorney Kevin Betz said
during a news conference that Hill faces “false and malicious” information
included in a report prepared for state legislative leaders about the
allegations stemming from a March 15 party at an Indianapolis bar.
The report was leaked to
the media, and three of the women later publicly accused Hill of
inappropriately touching them during the party celebrating the end of the
Betz said Wednesday that a
defamation lawsuit could be filed because the allegations included in the
confidential report were more serious than what two of the women said
happened in their public statements.
flowing, perceptions are a very difficult thing to come to a firm conclusion
about,” Betz said.
Republican Gov. Eric
Holcomb and Statehouse GOP leaders have called on Hill to resign. Indiana
Inspector General Lori Torres is investigating the claims, and a special
prosecutor will review her findings to determine whether Hill will face
Hill has denied the
allegations and rebuffed the calls for his resignation. He is also
challenging the appointment of a special prosecutor.
Hill, a staunch social
conservative who is married, had been viewed as a rising star in the
Republican Party since his election in 2016.
The former Elkhart County
prosecutor is also an Elvis impersonator who has relished punditry
appearances on Fox News.
If Hill doesn’t resign,
majority Republicans could take action to remove him.
Republican leaders have
declined to say whether they might take those steps.
Democratic state Rep. Mara
Candelaria Reardon and Gabrielle McLemore, the Indiana Senate Democrats’
communications director, say they were among the victims.
published her account of the March 15 incident in The (Northwest Indiana)
She described Hill’s
behavior as “deviant” when she encountered him in the early morning hours
after the legislative session ended for the year.
She said he leaned toward
her, put his hand on her back, slid it down and grabbed her buttocks. The
lawmaker said she told Hill to “back off,” but he approached her again later
in the night, put his hand on her back and said: “That skin. That back.”
McLemore later came forward
, saying she could no longer stay silent.
A Republican staffer also
came forward, saying Hill’s actions that night reflected “a deliberate
pattern of unacceptable behavior.”