Louisville attorney arrested for allegedly making threats against Democratic Kentucky governor

A Louisville attorney was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly making threats against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D).

James Troutman, 53, faces a misdemeanor charge of third-degree terroristic threatening, local outlet WDRB reported.

The arrest comes after statements were made on Facebook account bearing the name “Greg Troutman,” which police later attributed to the lawyer.

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A statement was posted on the Facebook page on April 15 reading: "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..."

Goebel, Kentucky’s 34th governor, was shot in 1900 the day before being sworn in after a divisive election and died four days later. He remains the only state governor in United States history who was assassinated during a contested election. 

When questioned by police, Troutman allegedly admitted to making the post and gave a detailed account of Goebel’s assassination.

Kentucky State Police was then contacted days later about another alleged statement made by Troutman.

Troutman and an anonymous user were reportedly having an exchange about protests planned in opposition to Beshear’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Will the Gov be there shooting plates???” the anonymous user wrote, according to records obtained by WDRB.

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Beshear announced earlier this month that officials were recording license plate information for those breaking stay-at-home orders for church services so they could receive quarantine notices. 

“With any luck the Gov will be the one at whom the shooting will be directed,” Troutman allegedly wrote back.

Police said Troutman expressed an intent to commit a crime "likely to result in death or serious physical injury to the Kentucky governor."

He is being held on $5,000 cash bond. If he pays, he will be placed on home incarceration and will be required to stay off the internet and have no contact with Beshear.

Troutman’s attorney, Steve Romines, told WDRB that what Troutman wrote was “not a threat.”

"What's more unhelpful and ridiculous is saying it's a crime and arresting him for it. To put him in jail over a Facebook post that doesn't meet the definition of terroristic threatening is absurd,” Romines said.

The Hill has reached out to Beshear's office for comment. 

The governor is one of several leaders across the country who have faced criticism for their response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 3,192 people in Kentucky as of Tuesday. 

Protesters disrupted Beshear's press briefing last week, gathering on the lawn of the state Capitol chanting “we want to work” and “facts over fear.” 

More than 100 Kentuckians also protested Beshear’s restrictions in Frankfort, arguing that businesses needed to reopen after more than 500,000 Kentuckians filed for unemployment in March.

Just days later, Beshear announced that the state saw the highest spike of coronavirus cases to date.