'It is free speech’: Attorney of man arrested for allegedly threatening Beshear defends controversial Facebook comments

James Gregory Troutman, 53, was taken into custody April 21 at his home.
Updated: Apr. 22, 2020 at 8:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville attorney has been arrested for allegedly making online threats against Gov. Andy Beshear.

James Gregory Troutman, 53, was taken into custody April 21 at his home by Kentucky State Police. He is charged with terroristic threatening, a misdemeanor.

Court documents state Troutman made two posts on Facebook which referenced violence toward Beshear.

In the first post, Troutman said, “Maybe some should ask Beshear in a press conference on his thoughts on William Goebel. For those who don’t know history, it’s a good read.”

Goebel served as Kentucky’s governor in 1900. He was shot the day before he took office and died four days later.

On April 20, KSP was alerted to another post on Troutman’s page. During an exchange with another person in that post, Troutman replied to a comment about would Gov. Beshear be shooting plates during a rally the next day in Frankfort by saying, “with any luck the gov will be the one at whom the shooting will be directed.”

Troutman’s attorney, Steve Romines, called his client’s posts ‘dumb’ and ‘unhelpful,' but told WAVE 3 News they were not criminal.

“The only thing more unhelpful than what Greg said on Facebook is KSP arresting him for it," Romines said. “If he had said the exact same thing except used Donald Trump instead of Andy Beshear, he wouldn’t be charged. Trying to take what is free speech, and it is free speech, and turn it into a crime simply because you don’t like it only makes the situation worse.”

Troutman’s comments come on the heels of another Facebook post that made waves. In the post, a man claimed Beshear “gives us the authority to eliminate him by any means necessary via the Second Amendment.”

There have also been protests in Frankfort, where people have been calling for Besear to re-open Kentucky.

Romines told WAVE 3 News he wasn’t sure if those events played a role in Troutman’s arrest, but said KSP is making an example of his client.

“Governor Beshear’s getting a lot of, you know, flack from certain segments and probably some other threats,” Romines said. "They’re trying to scare everybody else off. And they’re using this, to try to make Greg an example to scare other people off. "

WAVE 3 News reached out to KSP and did not hear back.

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