DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad won't comment on a lawsuit filed by the state's workers' compensation commissioner.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that Branstad and top aides could be held personally liable if a jury decides they defamed Commissioner Christopher Godrey and improperly cut his salary in an attempt to force his resignation.
The 5-2 decision means that a lawsuit filed by Godfrey returns to a lower court for trial.
The state has spent $525,000 in legal fees on the case. On Monday, Branstad referred questions to a private attorney representing the state, saying it's pending litigation and he can't comment.
Godfrey, who is gay, is suing Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and other state officials, alleging he was discriminated against based on his sexual orientation and defamed by their statements.