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Jessica Cutler, the former Senate aide whose online sex diary landed her a book deal and a Playboy photo spread but got her kicked off Capitol Hill, has filed for bankruptcy.
Cutler, an aide to then-Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, created the "Washingtonienne" blog in 2004 and began posting racy details about her sex life with six men, including a Senate colleague and "a few generous older gentlemen" who she said paid many of her living expenses.
When the blog was discovered, Cutler was fired. She moved to New York, wrote a novel based on the scandal, posed naked and started a new Web site that describes her as "a published author who jumps out of cakes for money."
Under the occupation heading of her Web site, it reads: "I'm freelancing."
Cutler has spent much of her time fending off a lawsuit by ex-boyfriend and fellow DeWine staffer Robert Steinbuch, who contends Cutler's blog publicly humiliated him. He is seeking more than $20 million in damages.
In court documents filed in the case Thursday, Cutler says she can't even pay her American Express bill, legal fees and student loans. She submitted to the judge a copy of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed in New York dated Wednesday.
Reached by e-mail Friday, Cutler would not answer questions about what happened to the money she earned from her book â€” a deal her publisher said in 2004 was worth well into the six figures â€” or from her Playboy shoot.
The lawsuit is being watched by online privacy groups and bloggers because the case could help establish whether people who keep online diaries are obligated to protect the privacy of the people they interact with offline.
By law, Cutler's bankruptcy filing puts the lawsuit against her on hold. It was already mired in contentious pretrial arguments with each side demanding personal information from the other and Steinbuch saying he didn't want to give a videotaped deposition for fear Cutler would put it on the Internet.
A message seeking comment was left at the office of Steinbuch's attorney in Florida.
There was no immediate response.