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Judge Privett addresses photo with Ryan Quarles

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 19:05:32-04

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear's legal team is asking for a new judge in Scott County after losing a lawsuit over pandemic regulations this month. The issue isn't the ruling, but a tweet showing the judge standing with one of the plaintiffs, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

Last week, Judge Brian Privett granted a temporary restraining order against Gov. Andy Beshear, stopping him from enforcing some safety limits on hundreds of agricultural businesses such as Scott County's Evans Orchard.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles joined the orchard in the lawsuit, who argued that the governor overburdened small businesses with selective enforcement.

Since the ruling, Judge Privett has been under fire on social media over a tweet with a picture of the judge thanking the AG Commissioner for stopping by an event, calling Quarles his friend. The tweet was posted in August 2018 and has been deleted.

Gov. Beshear's team asked for the judge to address their relationship by July 15, but the judge waited until the 16th.

"I will not be bullied, or threatened in to making any type of decision, pressured into making any type of decision," Judge Privett said.

"The picture that was publicized was taken at my event. Commissioner Quarles was in the same building, at his own event, and I can guarantee you, he didn't come over to see me. He came over to talk to my people so they would vote for him. I have never had dinner, lunch, a personal phone call with commissioner Quarles," Judge Privett said.

Judge Privett said a motion has been filed to remove him from this case, so he put Thursday's motion on hold until a decision is made.