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Judge steps away from lawsuit over Iowa agent's firing

A judge recently appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds has recused herself from a high-profile civil lawsuit. (MGN Online)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge recently appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds has recused herself from a high-profile civil lawsuit.

Judge Samantha Gronewald said Thursday she's disqualifying herself from the wrongful termination case brought by former Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund.

Gronewald didn't elaborate on the reason. But records show she and her husband have contributed to former Gov. Terry Branstad and other Republican candidates for years.

Reynolds, who succeeded Branstad as governor last year, appointed Gronewald in December.

Hedlund contends that his 25-year career as one of Iowa's top criminal investigators was destroyed days after he complained about speeding by Branstad's driver in 2013.

He contends Branstad and the Iowa Department of Public Safety falsely branded him as a security threat. The department says he was fired for insubordination.

Trial's set for April.

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