Petition asks judge to toss $1.5 million jury verdict against former Gov. Branstad

DES MOINES — Attorneys for the State of Iowa are challenging a jury’s verdict against former Governor Terry Branstad.

The jury awarded Christopher Godfrey $1.5 million after concluding Branstad retaliated against the former Workers Compensation Commissioner because he’s gay. After taking office in 2010, Branstad asked Godfrey to resign in the middle of Godfrey’s six-year term. When Godfrey refused, his salary was cut by a third.

Branstad’s legal team argues there was not enough evidence to prove that Godfrey’s sexuality was behind that decision. Godfrey’s attorney, Roxanne Conlin, says that was for the jury to decide.

“There is nothing that anyone can do to change the fact that the jury found that Terry Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, discriminated against Chris Godfrey because he was gay,” Conlin says.

The state’s attorneys also argue reducing Godfrey’s pay was within the governor’s authority. In a motion filed Wednesday, they ask the judge to either reverse the jury’s verdict or order a new trial.