A Louisville lawyer was arrested after allegedly threatening the life of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear while criticizing the state’s coronavirus quarantine measures.
James Troutman, 53, faces a misdemeanor charge of third-degree terroristic threatening over comments he made against the governor on Facebook under the account of “Greg Troutman,” which police traced back to the lawyer, according to the local outlet WDRB.
“Maybe some should ask Beshear in a press conference about his thoughts on William Goebel. For those of you who don’t know the history…it’s a good read…” Troutman posted on the site on April 15.
Goebel was Kentucky’s 34th governor who was fatally shot in an assassination a day before he was sworn into office in 1900.
Police said Troutman jumped into another conversation on April 20 relating to the planned protests against Kentucky’s stay-at-home order.
“Will the Gov be there shooting plates???” the anonymous user wrote, referencing Beshear’s announcement that officials were recording license plate information for those breaking quarantine, according to WDRB.
Troutman allegedly replied, “With any luck the Gov will be the one at whom the shooting will be directed.”
Police arrested Troutman Tuesday. While questioning him, cops said Troutman offered a detailed history of Goebel’s assassination and expressed an intent to commit a crime “likely to result in death or serious physical injury to the Kentucky governor,” the outlet reported.
Troutman’s attorney, Steve Romines, told WDRB that the arrest and police framing was “absurd.”
“What’s more unhelpful and ridiculous is saying it’s a crime and arresting him for it,” Romnes said. “To put him in jail over a Facebook post that doesn’t meet the definition of terroristic threatening is absurd.”
Beshear, a Democrat, is among several governors being pressured to reopen the state during the coronavirus pandemic. Around 100 protesters gathered last Wednesday outside the Capitol building in Frankfort during Beshear’s coronavirus briefing, shouting “Open up Kentucky!” and “King Beshear.”
That following Sunday, Kentucky experienced its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases, with 273 positive tests confirmed, according to Beshear.