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Idaho may pay legal fees after losing ‘dairy spying’ lawsuit

January 24, 2019

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A panel of Idaho officials will meet next week to consider paying $260,000 for attorney fees and other costs after losing a lawsuit over an unconstitutional law that sought to criminalize surreptitious filming at agricultural operations.

The law was dubbed the “ag-gag” law by critics. It was passed by the Legislature in 2012 after an undercover investigator for a group called Mercy for Animals filmed workers abusing cows at an Idaho dairy.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued, and a federal judge found the law violated the First Amendment because it sought to suppress speech critical of agricultural practices.

The Idaho Constitutional Defense Council will meet on Wednesday to consider paying the winning side’s legal fees as ordered by the court. The Idaho Constitutional Defense Fund was created by lawmakers to fund legal efforts focused on state sovereignty, but it’s mostly been used to pay for legal fees after the state loses lawsuits.

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