AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A judge has struck down Maine Gov. Paul LePage's effort to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him for blocking his critics on his official Facebook page and deleting their comments.

The judge ruled Wednesday that there was merit in the plaintiff's allegations that the Republican governor's actions violated their right to free speech.

His ruling will allow the lawsuit to continue despite LePage's term coming to an end in January.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of two women, Kelli Whitlock Burton, of Waldoboro, and Karin Leuthy, of Camden.

They are seeking attorney fees and a court order stopping LePage from continuing the censorship.

LePage's attorney says the governor is reviewing the judge's decision and will decide his next step "very soon."