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Lawsuit seeks ouster of suspended Indiana attorney general

May 21, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill arrives for a hearing at the state Supreme Court at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hill's law license will be suspended for 30 days over an allegation that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday, May 11, 2020. The unanimous court decision said that the state's attorney disciplinary commission "proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill arrives for a hearing at the state Supreme Court at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hill's law license will be suspended for 30 days over an allegation that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday, May 11, 2020. The unanimous court decision said that the state's attorney disciplinary commission "proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A lawsuit filed Thursday is asking a judge to rule on whether Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill can remain in office while his law license is suspended for groping a state legislator and three other women.

The lawsuit comes after a state Supreme Court order Monday in which it declined a request from Gov. Eric Holcomb for a ruling settling that question. The court said Holcomb’s request was outside the scope of the disciplinary case against Hill.

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Hill, a Republican, began serving the 30-day suspension on Monday and designated his chief deputy to oversee the office in his absence.

The lawsuit filed in Marion County by Democratic lawyer William Groth on behalf of four Indianapolis residents argues Hill no longer meets state law’s requirement that the attorney general be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana” and that he doesn’t have the legal authority to give his legal duties to a deputy.

The attorney general’s office didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Hill, 59, has denied doing anything wrong at a March 2018 party where the groping occurred, but a unanimous Supreme Court decision last week said the state’s attorney disciplinary commission “proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery.”

Holcomb has called for Hill’s resignation and would appoint a new attorney general if Hill was found ineligible to remain in office. But he said Monday he wouldn’t take more action to force Hill from office.

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