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*** UPDATED x1 *** Hastings sues Frankfort police, alleges release of a “fabricated” report

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mike Nolan at the Daily Southtown

State Sen. Michael Hastings is suing Frankfort’s Police Department and alleges that unnamed employees of the department or Will County released “a fabricated police report with false claims” of domestic violence against him alleged by his wife, who he said he is divorcing.

A petition for discovery, filed last month, seeks records from Frankfort and Will County regarding who may have accessed the June 20, 2021, police report in which his wife alleged that Hastings was verbally abusive toward her and had, several months earlier, battered her at the Frankfort home they shared.

In the discovery request, attorneys for Hastings are seeking records of who electronically accessed and printed copies of the report and who those copies may have been given to. In a news release issued Tuesday, Hastings alleges copies of the report were released in an effort to hurt his reelection chances.

Such records are needed by Hastings, according to the filing, in order to pursue claims against those “who deliberately disseminated and published false statements of fact to third parties.”

The Senate Republicans have made Hastings a priority this year, even tracking him at times, so he may be trying to get this story out there before they attack him. Hastings is up against Republican Patrick Sheehan.

* More info here

Within the Motion, Hasting alleges claims of Defamation, False Light Invasion of Privacy, and related torts from the publication of false statements of fact in a police report that the Frankfort Police Department prepared on or about June 20, 2021. […]

Additionally, Hastings goes on to explain, in substantial detail, the contents of the “sealed” police reports, which we believe constitutes his waiver of any claim for having them sealed, and based on this new filing they need unsealed so the public will know what is happening within their court systems and with their elected state Senator.

The police report indicates Hasting’s wife complained of him being verbally abusive and that he battered her – both of which Hastings claims in this filing to be false. He follows this with claiming the police report was a false statement of fact and it was distributed to third parties.

No word yet from his spouse.

*** UPDATE *** Sen. Hastings posted a statement on Facebook

Senator Michael Hastings filed a lawsuit seeking discovery from the Frankfort Police Department to determine whether any Frankfort employees republished defamatory statements about him by releasing, without authorization, a fabricated police report. The report contains false claims by his estranged wife to pressure him during his divorce proceedings during his re-election campaign. Hastings, filed for divorce against his wife because of her infidelity with another man. The police report she filed contains multiple falsehood involving “domestic violence” which never occurred.

The police report as written accuses Hastings of an alleged event that occurred seven months prior to his wife making the statement to the police, to which, Senator Hastings vehemently denies. Then she explicitly stated that she did not want police to investigate the matter, nor did she want the senator to be interviewed. Further, no investigation was conducted by the Frankfort Police Department and the matter was closed.

The divorce proceedings began in 2021 after Hastings discovered that his wife was having a long term, eight-month secret affair with another individual. This came to light after Senator Hastings discovered excessive amounts of text messages and late-night phone calls, some of which lasted more than two hours after midnight, in addition to geolocation information pinning his estranged wife at her paramour’s residence.

To make matters worse, Hasting’s wife then communicated with two of his known political adversaries’ and conspired with them to smear and defame him to gain a litigation advantage during the divorce proceedings through an underhanded pressure campaign.

“My whole focus has been to ensure that in this unfortunate divorce proceedings, the interests of our two young children are protected and they would be spared from this trauma,” Hastings said. “But, someone within the Frankfort Police Department, working with my wife, produced a police report to which I was never contacted or investigated, in which my wife makes false allegations of domestic violence that never occurred. That information was then intentionally leaked to the news media in a sinister attempt to influence the elections, hurt me politically by tarnishing my reputation, and turning the divorce around to blame the divorce on me by using these false domestic violence accusations. She wanted to turn her infidelity away from herself and put it all on me.”

Hastings, an Iraq war veteran who served as State Senator for the 19th District for 10 years, said that the sole purpose of the false police report was to create a political narrative that could be used to undermine his re-election campaign.

“To exploit a family’s personal problems for political gain is reprehensible, and I will be filing subsequent legal actions to defend my reputation in the court of law” Hastings said.

       

35 Comments
  1. - Miso - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:14 am:

    I wonder what Rep. Cassidy thinks about these “false” allegations. I think he may have a problem in the house with any bill that makes it over if she thinks this initial report whiffs of truth.


  2. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:18 am:

    The police engaged in misconduct in a fashion that supports GOP electoral strategy? Where’s the shocked Pikachu face when you need one?


  3. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:24 am:

    The story is unclear. Is this a situation where he claims his wife made false allegations and the police merely accurately transcribed those allegations on the report? If so, perhaps he should be suing her. Regarding release of the report, are these confidential? Because we see police reports released all the time.


  4. - whowhatnow - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:25 am:

    The report is the report. He can claim the allegations contained within are false, but that is not the same as the police fabricating a report.


  5. - vern - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:31 am:

    Obviously there’s still a lot of info yet to come out here. But Hastings better be absolutely correct about what he’s alleging, because any other alternative is a huge problem for him.

    He’s very notably not suing his wife. As best I can conclude, he’s not accusing his wife of lying. He’s accusing the Frankfort Police Department of manufacturing the report whole-cloth. That seems both very unlikely and very easy to prove out if true. Was there a 911 call and police response on the day in question? Were there body or dashboard cameras recording? If so, Frankfort should be able to resolve the accusations against the village one way or another quickly and definitively.

    If someone at Frankfort did totally fabricate this report, that would vindicate Hastings. But if the report was taken through normal police work, he needs to sit down and rethink his approach to all of this. An election, a divorce, and a lawsuit is a lot of conflict for a person to take on all at once.


  6. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:33 am:

    I thought police reports were just statements from witnesses, complainants etc. If those people lie I don’t think the police are responsible for filing a false police report, unless they are in on a conspiracy and therefore know it’s false. But that would be a criminal matter.


  7. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    Hastings doesn’t look good here and the steps he’s taking bring even more attention to the issue. To the extent that information may be fabricated his issue appears to be with his soon to be ex not the Frankfort PD. I get that he may be trying to get ahead of his opponent on this, but he may have overplayed his hand.


  8. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:53 am:

    He is calling it “a fabricated report with false claims”, well now Hastings will have to give his account of events - not smart. Also begs for a response from his wife.


  9. - Plano Pride - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:02 am:

    Candy Dogood with the conspiracy theory of the week.


  10. - Amalia - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:04 am:

    reminds of the persistent rumors on line of a Cook County elected official and a police visit for domestic violence. the on line comments were traced and action taken because there was no police visit. this does not sound exactly like that but it reminds of that.


  11. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    I’m sure that Kim Foxx did not enjoy that the police report re her husband’s allegations of DV was released and that Irvin did not enjoy that the police report re the fracas at the dispensary was released but such is life. Unless the police themselves manufactured this situation it seems like a nothing burger.


  12. - Tood Aloo - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:15 am:

    Previous allegations against Hastings were dismissed. It’s not unusual for people to make stuff up to sully another’s character when one doesn’t get what one wants. I think that as more comes out, Hastings will become more sympathetic and his wife will look not good at all. Hastings isn’t a fly by the seat pants kind of guy. He served in combat. He analyzes situations and calculates risk better than most. It was never going to be a smooth sail to re-election for him, but it looks like he has just gone on the offensive in this battle.


  13. - vern - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    time for hastings to walk away https://www.facebook.com/HastingsforIL/posts/pfbid0BPWPpviHi1YbQZtz4RWpxJjSEEXd4K8tWXEmvgySHjktzkf3dLkbStrZoHHa5Sxyl


  14. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    A few things. First, interesting that Hasting’s attorney (Paul Castiglione) filed his appearance as a member of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. This is unusual because (1) Castiglione has left that office, and (2) because that office would typically enjoy a fee waiver in filing civil complaints. Could just be sloppy paperwork on the Attorney or the Circuit Clerk, but interesting.

    Second, Hastings has a hard road to hoe. IL is a fact pleading state, so to survive a motion to dismiss, plead sufficient facts (viewed in the light most favorable to him) that not only were the statements taken by police fabricated, but that they were fabricated BY THE POLICE, not by the witness. Even then, assuming he makes it that far, he’s got to get past qualified immunity. Then, if by some miracle, he gets past those two barriers, he’s got to prove by preponderance of the evidence that the police fabricated the statements and reports.

    This strikes me as a political stunt to try to water down the political impact of these allegations.

    Finally, I can’t imagine that there is a cause of action here for disseminating a public record. FOIA, being what it is (and I’ll point out Hastings voted for all the bills expanding it) renders these types of records public.


  15. - fs - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    ==The story is unclear. Is this a situation where he claims his wife made false allegations and the police merely accurately transcribed those allegations on the report? If so, perhaps he should be suing her. Regarding release of the report, are these confidential? Because we see police reports released all the time.==

    Or is he claiming someone made a “report” to the police and the police ran with it? Tough to know at this point. If not, I agree that without also naming her the whole suit seems odd if the report is based in any way on conversations between his wife and the police.


  16. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:34 am:

    Castiglione is an odd duck. When he worked for CCSA he told the GA that Illinois need not follow rulings of the Seventh Circuit.


  17. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    The more dirty laundry he voluntarily puts out in public about his personal life, the more unappealing he will become to voters.


  18. - JC - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:54 am:

    Castiglione is an odd duck. When he worked for CCSA he told the GA that Illinois need not follow rulings of the Seventh Circuit.

    No. That’s not what he said. The CC case you’re referring to occurred in the central district. State courts not located in the central district (Cook, for example) are not bound by central district opinions. That’s simply the rules of precedence.


  19. - Lord of the Fries - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    As many commenters have already pointed out it is weird that Hastings is suggesting the police are making false reports. They have to write down whatever the wife alleges, how are they to know what is right or not.

    More will come out in the divorce proceedings, which I’m sure he hopes will be after November.

    Very similar to the US Senate race in PA. Ex-wife alleged abuse that candidate utterly denied.

    It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    To the update,

    Sounds like Hastings political standing and election campaign are the least of his worries.


  21. - JC - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:01 am:

    oops, I’m wrong about thae above. It’s actually MORE restrictive…

    “”Illinois law is well settled that lower federal court decisions (ie not SCOTUS) are not binding on Illinois Courts, but may be considered persuasive authority.”
    Wilson v. County of Cook 2012 IL 112026


  22. - SpiDem - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the truth an absolute defense against defamation? Presumably, police were called and a report was filed. So long as the police report accurately reflects what the responding officers at the scene were told by the complainant, there is no defamation.

    Further, providing an accurate copy of a police report may break internal rules or perhaps a law (I really don’t know), but it isn’t defamation.

    Short version, Hastings taking these actions don’t make a lot of sense unless he’s trying to get ahead of something very politically explosive, and get his spin on the ball first. I suspect this is going to get very, very ugly.


  23. - Who else - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:15 am:

    To the update: This is wild. Being publicly upfront about using geolocation data to track his wife is certainly a strategy choice.


  24. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    ==The CC case you’re referring to occurred in the central district. ==

    Nope, it was the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Moore. He said Illinois only need follow SCOTUS decisions.


  25. - phocion - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    Fortunately for Harmon, he’s got seats to spare.


  26. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    ==lower federal court decisions (ie not SCOTUS) are not binding on Illinois Courts==

    The issue wasn’t whether Illinois courts are bound to follow lower federal court decisions. It was whether the State itself as a party to litigation must comply with a Seventh Circuit decision.


  27. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:31 am:

    The update makes this sound like even more of a fishing expedition by Hastings. He has no reason to believe that the report was released by the Frankfort PD but wants to know if it was. Beyond that, I don’t think any of us care much about the cause of what is undoubtedly a messy divorce for the Hastings family. It also seems like Hastings is a wee bit passive aggressive here in airing the circumstances that led to the split.


  28. - Thomas Clarence - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    It seems as if the facts in Senator Hastings statement are very particular and precise. I would hate to the “political adversaries” that were mentioned in the press release because of the fact that he is a lawyer and sitting before a deposition in a defamation case or other related matters could cause the greatest political theatre and/or costly embarrassment to those involved.


  29. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:44 am:

    This seems a little Streisand-Effect-y, doesn’t it?


  30. - vern - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 11:57 am:

    ===because of the fact that he is a lawyer===

    Lawyers are not immune from acting emotionally or irrationally. That’s especially true when the lawyer is going through a messy divorce. There’s vanishingly little evidence that Hastings is enacting some kind of master plan here. He’s just suing for whatever he can think of and trashing his wife on Facebook.

    Lawyers are also not wizards who can depose their enemies with a wave of their hand. You have to convince a judge of a lot of different things first. As others have said, a defamation case against Frankfort here would require a very particular combination of pleadings to even survive a motion to dismiss. I wouldn’t bet that this ends with Hastings vindicated while the West Wing theme song plays in the background.


  31. - Ebenezer - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 2:42 pm:

    Maybe I’m just eccentric, but it seems to me there is some level of marital instability where seeking elected office is not the best career choice.

    If you find yourself saying, as a defense, that your wife handed allegations of domestic abuse to your political enemies, I’d say that point has been crossed.


  32. - Sir Henry - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    I heard rumors this police report existed back during session. If others had access so did the Senator. Maybe he should have been more pro-active in getting in front of the situation if it contained inaccurate information. Trying to build a firewall after the fire is not a sound offensive.


  33. - Shytown - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    Well…I’m not sure if this is a huge surprise as it’s been floating around for a while.


  34. - Justintime - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:07 pm:

    Well at least the FBI didn’t raid his home..yet.


  35. - Justintime - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 9:07 pm:

    Well at least the FBI didn’t raid his home..yet.


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