Governor sued by his lieutenant over firings

A feud at the top of Kentucky’s government escalated into an extraordinary legal battle Thursday when the governor was sued by his handpicked lieutenant governor over a bitter staffing dispute.

The fight erupted deep into Gov. Matt Bevin’s reelection efforts and muddied his campaign’s efforts to put the focus on his ties to President Trump and his antiabortion stand.

Democrats were quick to pounce, pointing to Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton’s lawsuit as another example of what they called a “dysfunctional mess” caused by the combative Republican governor. Bevin’s office said it would move to dismiss the complaint.

Bevin is being challenged in November by Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat who has sued Bevin repeatedly for the governor’s use of executive powers. Beshear is the son of Bevin’s predecessor, former governor Steve Beshear.

Hampton’s lawsuit, filed in state court, seeks to restore two of her dismissed staff members to their jobs in the lieutenant governor’s office. They were removed by Bevin’s administration this year without her consent.

The governor has built his campaign around his alliance with Trump, emphasizing job growth and low unemployment during his tenure and his strong stand against abortion.

But the Hampton dispute threatens to hit Bevin where he’s potentially most vulnerable.

The infighting comes when Bevin is looking to make inroads with a campaign message geared toward winning back Republicans who abandoned him in the May primary.

Bevin barely surpassed 50 percent of the vote in the four-way primary.

— Associated Press

Man exonerated in killings to get $1.3 million compensation: A Michigan man exonerated in the 1985 arson-related slayings of his wife and young daughters will receive $1.3 million from the state after fighting to get compensation under a law his case helped inspire. Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday approved the award for David Gavitt under the state's Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act. Gavitt, 61, of Ionia, spent 26 years in prison, from 1986 to 2012, before a county prosecutor agreed that the arson evidence behind his conviction no longer was credible. Michigan is one of 32 states, along with the District of Columbia, that provide money to people rebuilding their lives after being wrongly convicted. Compensation is calculated based on $50,000 for each year in prison. Gavitt's case was often raised when the Michigan legislature approved the law, which started in 2017.

Court delays New Jersey's new aid-in-dying law: A New Jersey judge has granted a temporary restraining order against that state's new medical aid-in-dying law, which took effect Aug. 1. The ruling came in response to a complaint from a Bergen County physician who opposes the law, his lawyer E. David Smith said. They argued that the law should not take effect because the state has not yet written regulations to accompany it. The law requires that six state agencies and boards "adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary." The state issued "guidance" late last month but has not said when regulations will be promulgated. At that time, a state health department spokesman said hospitals and health facilities could begin helping patients who wanted to use provisions of the law on Aug. 1. Several large health systems were still creating their own policies on how the law would be carried out. The restraining order probably will be in effect until the next court date, which is Oct. 23.

— From news services