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Lawyer arrested after threatening Kentucky governor on social media

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A Louisville lawyer was charged with threatening Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear after allegedly referencing an assassinated governor in a Facebook post before saying he hoped people would shoot at Beshear, police said. James Gregory Troutman, 53, was charged with terroristic threatening on Wednesday after he made multiple statements on Facebook about Beshear, according to Kentucky State Police. Troutman’s attorney disputed the charge. Troutman made the posts from an account named Greg Troutman, police said, and they traced the account back to Troutman. The first statement was made on April 16. “Maybe some should ask Beshear in a press conference about his thoughts on William Goebel,” Troutman said in the post, according to police. “For those of you who don’t know the history . . . it’s a good read . . . ” Goebel was the 34th governor of Kentucky. He was elected in 1899 but was shot by an assassin the day before he was sworn in. He died four days later. He is the only U.S. state governor to ever be assassinated while in office. Troutman admitted to making the statement on Facebook while being questioned on April 16, police said. Police received another report of a separate comment Troutman made about Beshear on Facebook just days later. “There’s a rally tomorrow in Frankfort and Lansing,” Troutman commented, according to police. The rallies were protesting business closings — and the resulting layoffs — to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “Will the gov be there shooting plates???” An unknown user replied, according to police. The post referenced the governor’s decision to have license plate photos taken of those who attended a church despite social distancing guidelines. “With any luck the gov will be the one at whom the shooting will be directed,” Troutman replied, according to police. Police said they believed Troutman was “threatening to commit a crime likely to result in death or serious physical injury to the Kentucky governor,” according to court records. Troutman’s lawyer, Steve Romines, told WDRB in Louisville that Troutman did not threaten to kill Beshear. “He didn’t say he was going to kill him,” Romines said. “We like to pretend the First Amendment means something, but it only does if it’s something you agree with.” Romines could not be immediately reached for additional comment. (c)2020 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at www.kentucky.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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