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.”
Robert Piscia, Frankfort’s village administrator, said in an email Tuesday the village is aware of the lawsuit.
“The village takes such allegations seriously and affirms that it responds to requests in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. The village will not be providing any further comment on this litigation at this time.”
The Chicago Tribune had, earlier this year, been denied a copy of the report or any recordings of 911 calls coming from the home the senator and his wife shared in the 20600 block of Holland Harbor Drive. The parent company of the Tribune also publishes the Daily Southtown.
Frankfort police said an exemption in the state’s Freedom of Information Act allowed it to withhold reports of incidents “for which there are no arrests and where disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as minor domestic or neighbor issues.”
In the discovery filing, Hastings said he is seeking records of who accessed what he said was a false confidential police report because he is contemplating a separate complaint alleging defamation and invasion of privacy.
When a Frankfort officer came to their home in June of last year, Hastings’ wife told police that her husband “was emotionally and verbally abusive to her,” and alleged that he had battered her nearly eight months prior, according to the discovery filing. Hastings “vehemently denies” those claims, according to Tuesday’s news release.
Hastings’ wife was not immediately available Tuesday to comment.
Paul Castiglione, one of Hastings’ attorneys and a retired assistant state’s attorney with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, said the petition for discovery is allowed in state law for someone who is contemplating further court action.
“Someone leaked the report,” he said Tuesday, and that the petition is an effort to “try to get to the bottom of what happened.”
The matter is set for an initial court hearing Nov. 3.
Hastings, in the news release, said that divorce proceedings began last year.
He said the police report was “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.”
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Hastings ran unopposed in the June Democratic primary for the 19th Senate District, and will face Patrick Sheehan in November’s general election. Sheehan ran unopposed in the Republican primary.
Hastings was first elected in November 2012, and the district includes all or portions of Frankfort, Homer Glen, Mokena, New Lenox, Orland Hills and Tinley Park.
Another group, Edgar County Watchdogs, said in a recent report about Hastings’ discovery filing that it had been able to obtain a heavily redacted copy of the report from police, and has gone to court to force Frankfort to release an unadulterated copy of the report .
The group, in an online report earlier this week, said it had previously received an unredacted copy of the police report from other sources and detailed the allegations Hastings’ wife made to the police.
Public reports show the Frankfort home Hastings and his wife shared was sold in August 2021 for $690,000.
Records show the senator living at a different address in Frankfort.