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60-day law license suspension suggested for Indiana AG

AG Curtis Hill

The recommendation filed Friday with the state Supreme Court puts the Republican Hill’s ability to remain as state government’s top lawyer in jeopardy as he must have a law license to hold the position.

Posted: Feb 16, 2020 8:51 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A 60-day law license suspension is being recommended for Indiana’s attorney general after allegations that he grabbed the buttocks of a female state legislator and inappropriately touched three other women during a party.

The recommendation filed Friday with the state Supreme Court puts the Republican Hill’s ability to remain as state government’s top lawyer in jeopardy as he must have a law license to hold the position.

It wasn’t immediately clear how a temporary suspension would affect his status.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby proposed the punishment in a report to the court, which will make the final decision in the professional misconduct case.

Selby said his law license should not be automatically reinstated following the suspension.

In her 36-page report, Selby wrote that Hill committed battery and she “finds and concludes by clear and convincing evidence” he violated rules of professional conduct.

“(Hill’s) conduct was offensive, invasive, damaging and embarrassing” to the four women who accused him, Selby wrote. “As Attorney General, he used his state office staff and others to engage in a public campaign to defend himself and intimidate the complainants.”

A message seeking comment was left with one of Hill’s attorneys.

Selby heard four days of testimony in October about Hill’s conduct during the March 2018 party at an Indianapolis bar marking the end of that year’s legislative session.

Hill has denied any wrongdoing, testifying that he briefly touched Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon’s back while leaning in to hear what she was saying during the party and was startled to realize she was wearing a backless dress.

Hill said “absolutely not” when asked whether he grabbed Reardon’s buttocks.

Reardon testified that Hill, smelling of alcohol and with glassy eyes, was holding a drink in his right hand and put his left hand on her shoulder, then slid his hand down her dress to clench her buttocks. “A squeeze, a firm grasp,” she said.

Hill, 58, also refuted testimony from three female legislative staffers that he inappropriately touched them and made unwelcomed sexual comments during the party.

“I didn’t touch any woman in a sensual or intimate manner,” Hill said.

The Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission, which investigates misconduct by lawyers, s ought a two-year suspension of Hill’s law license, arguing he must be held to a high standard because of his elected position and that he’s not taken any responsibility for his actions.

Commission attorneys maintain the testimony against Hill “cannot be brushed off as simply boorish behavior or overlooked as a misunderstanding of intent.”

“Sexual assault causes serious, life-long harm, yet victims are loath to report it because of the fear they will be discounted and blamed instead of the perpetrator,” the commission’s attorneys wrote in filings to Selby.

Hill, who had been viewed as a rising African American star in the Republican Party, has rebuffed calls from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP leaders for his resignation since the groping allegations became public in July 2018.

Hill announced in November his campaign to seek a second term in the 2020 election.

The former prosecutor in northern Indiana’s Elkhart County would have to win nomination in June’s state Republican convention.

He’s being opposed by Adam Krupp, who stepped down in January as the Holcomb-appointed head of the state revenue department to run for attorney general.

Hill will be counting on the support of social conservatives among the state convention delegates in order to win the GOP nomination.

He’s fueled that support with news conferences about the discovery of more than 2,400 sets of fetal remains at Chicago-area properties linked to a deceased Indiana abortion doctor and appearances on Fox News to discuss various topics.

The four women have also filed a federal lawsuit against Hill and the state, alleging sexual harassment and defamation by Hill.

His attorneys have downplayed the allegations, arguing the claims against him represent common behavior in a bar even if they are true.

He acknowledged in legal filings that he drank three glasses of wine, a vodka martini and a shot of whiskey over several hours the night of the party.

“In such environments, there tends to be some degree of physical contact between individuals,” Hill’s lawyers said of the crowded party. “The amount of physical contact a particular person is comfortable with is highly variable from person to person.”

Hill’s lawyers also maintain the disciplinary case is improper because a special prosecutor declined to file criminal charges and any conduct at the party shouldn’t be subject to law license sanctions.

The state Supreme Court doesn’t face a deadline to make its decision.

The court’s options range from dismissing the complaint, a reprimand, and temporary suspension or permanent removal of Hill’s law license.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 52685

Reported Deaths: 2775
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12192697
Lake5764251
Elkhart372061
Allen2988135
St. Joseph223570
Hamilton1779101
Cass16519
Hendricks1482100
Johnson1366118
Porter86738
Vanderburgh8586
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Clark72844
Madison68564
LaPorte63928
Howard61758
Bartholomew60945
Kosciusko5874
Marshall57412
Noble52628
Boone49744
LaGrange49110
Delaware48452
Jackson4813
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Floyd42544
Monroe37528
Dubois3447
Morgan34431
Grant33426
Henry30618
Montgomery29720
Clinton2913
White28110
Warrick27929
Dearborn27723
Vigo2638
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Lawrence25325
Harrison22022
Greene20032
Miami1972
Jennings18012
Putnam1758
DeKalb1714
Scott1669
Wayne1656
Perry16010
Daviess15117
Jasper1422
Orange14023
Steuben1403
Ripley1357
Gibson1332
Franklin1288
Wabash1203
Carroll1142
Starke1103
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington932
Jefferson932
Wells841
Randolph814
Fulton791
Knox730
Jay720
Posey680
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay655
Rush633
Spencer621
Owen541
Sullivan541
Benton510
Adams491
Brown461
Blackford412
Fountain382
Tipton361
Crawford350
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren161
Pike150
Union150
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67995

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12574449
Cuyahoga9509400
Hamilton7179208
Lucas3110306
Marion275739
Montgomery264737
Summit2420209
Pickaway223542
Mahoning1996239
Butler194247
Columbiana140560
Stark1252116
Lorain120870
Trumbull107178
Warren106827
Clark83210
Delaware78415
Fairfield75117
Lake64322
Tuscarawas62811
Licking61913
Medina61432
Belmont57224
Clermont5327
Miami52031
Wood51551
Portage50760
Ashtabula45244
Geauga43643
Richland3926
Allen39141
Greene3809
Wayne37856
Erie30822
Mercer30410
Holmes2645
Huron2643
Darke26126
Madison2309
Ottawa21924
Athens2011
Sandusky18015
Coshocton1554
Ross1543
Washington14920
Putnam14615
Crawford1405
Jefferson1322
Morrow1291
Hardin12512
Union1191
Auglaize1124
Muskingum1061
Preble961
Lawrence930
Clinton922
Hancock921
Monroe8917
Hocking848
Guernsey834
Scioto800
Ashland782
Shelby784
Williams772
Logan731
Carroll713
Fulton710
Wyandot665
Brown621
Champaign601
Knox591
Fayette580
Highland581
Defiance563
Perry501
Van Wert501
Seneca432
Henry380
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Jackson320
Pike290
Adams282
Vinton232
Gallia211
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Morgan130
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