Judge rejects former Iowa governor move to toss jury verdict
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A district court judge has rejected a request by former Gov. Terry Branstad’s lawyers to set aside a jury verdict that concluded Branstad discriminated against a former state official because he’s gay.
The ruling by Judge Brad McCall filed Tuesday summarily rejects dozens of arguments, including challenges to legal rulings during trial and jury instructions.
Branstad’s attorneys asked McCall to set aside the July 15 jury verdict of $1.5 million awarded to former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.
Jurors concluded Godfrey was the victim of discrimination and retaliation when Branstad tried to force him to quit in 2011 and then cut his pay.
Branstad’s attorney Frank Harty asked McCall in a July 31 motion to dismiss the lawsuit or order a new trial. Harty says the verdicts are unsupported by substantial evidence and are contrary to law.
McCall concluded that substantial evidence exists to support the jury’s conclusions.
The bill to Iowa taxpayers for the case stands now at about $8 million if the verdict isn’t reverse.