AG: Put Lawsuit Against Branstad on Hold Until His Ambassadorship Ends

Oct 13, 2017

A former Iowa DCI agent, who was fired after reporting speeding by then-Governor Branstad’s security detail, would not be getting his day in court soon under a motion filed this week in Polk County District Court.  

The motion filed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says former agent Larry Hedlund’s case should be put on hold until Branstad completes his assignment as U.S. Ambassador to China.  

Back in 2013, Hedlund reported a trooper clocked Branstad’s driver going 84 in a 65-mile-per-hour zone, and that the security detail made a habit of speeding.      

"The ambassador is not able to return for the scheduled trial."

The administration fired Hedland, citing insubordination.

Hedlund sued the Governor and the Department of Public Safety, alleging defamation and wrongful termination.  

The case was set to go to trial December 4th.  

The attorney general’s motion asks that date to be pushed back or for the case to be put on hold altogether.  

“The Ambassador is not able to return for the scheduled trial of this matter, and the vital interests of the United States must take precedence over the allegations against Ambassador Branstad made by Mr. 

"The importance of the diplomatic posting...cannot be overstated."

Hedlund,” the motion reads. “The importance of the diplomatic posting that Ambassador Branstad is in charge of cannot be overstated.”

The attorney general argues that with his heavy schedule as ambassador, and the difficulty of communication from China, it would be hard for the Governor to defend himself from afar.     

The motion says parties in the case have conducted numerous depositions and filed tens of thousands of pages of documents. Additionally, it states Hedlund is currently taking the depositions of ten additional people.

Back in March, Branstad won a court ruling as he was preparing for his diplomatic post.

The court ruled that appearing in person for a deposition in the case would interfere with his duties.