Judge again blocks Branstad’s deposition in agent’s firing

Iowa News
Terry Branstad

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks during an interview at the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The departing U.S. ambassador on Tuesday defended a tough approach to China that has riled relations between the world’s two largest economies, saying the Trump administration has made progress on trade and that he hopes it will extend to other areas. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ruled that former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad does not have to testify in a long-running lawsuit brought by an investigator who was fired in 2013 shortly after filing a complaint about Branstad’s state vehicle speeding.

Lawyers for former Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund wanted to take Branstad’s deposition as they prepare for an August trial date in his case, which alleges Hedlund was wrongly discharged for blowing the whistle on the speeding and other agency misconduct.

But Judge Paul Scott this month granted the state’s request to quash a subpoena that had been sent to Branstad summoning him to appear for the deposition. Scott says Branstad is protected by the “high-ranking official privilege.”

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