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Kentucky lawyer arrested for allegedly threatening governor over lockdown

Attorney James Gregory Troutman allegedly said on Facebook that he hopes Gov. Andy Beshear would see the same fate as a former governor, William Goebel, who was assassinated in 1900.
Image: Andy Beshear
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks about coronavirus during a media conference at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., on April 19, 2020.Ryan C. Hermens / Lexington Herald-Leader via AP

A Kentucky lawyer was arrested for alleged online threats against the state’s governor, who has come under fire over his coronavirus lockdown.

James Gregory Troutman, 53, was charged with terroristic threatening, a misdemeanor, by the Kentucky State Police for his comments about Gov. Andy Beshear, according to NBC affiliate WAVE in Louisville.

On Facebook, Troutman said, “Maybe some should ask Beshear in a press conference on his thoughts on William Goebel,” referring to a former Kentucky governor who was shot a day before he was sworn into office and died a few days later. “For those who don’t know history, it’s a good read,” Troutman, of Louisville, wrote, according to court documents cited by WAVE.

In another thread discussing a rally protesting the state lockdown, Troutman replied to a comment on Facebook about the governor's possible attendance, saying “with any luck” Beshear would be shot at the rally.

Beshear, a Democrat, has faced pushback for implementing strong coronavirus prevention measures before some of Kentucky’s neighboring states.

When the number of positive cases in Kentucky was only in the double digits in March, the governor ordered the closure of schools, limited restaurants to take-out only, and shut down gyms, hair salons and child care centers.

On March 26, his stay-at-home order went into effect, which has since been the subject of protests by small groups gathering at the state capitol.

Kentucky currently has nearly 3,200 confirmed cases and 170 deaths from the virus.

NBC News reached out to Kentucky State Police, Troutman, and his attorney, Steve Romines, on Thursday morning but did not immediately hear back.

Romines told WAVE that “the only thing more unhelpful than what Greg said on Facebook is [state police] arresting him for it.”

Romines said Troutman was exercising his free speech. “Turn it into a crime simply because you don’t like it only makes the situation worse,” he said to WAVE.