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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad and top aides say they weren’t aware that a former state official was gay when the governor asked him to resign and cut his pay.

In affidavits filed last week, Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and four aides said Christopher Godfrey wasn’t singled out because of sexual orientation.

Godfrey, the state’s former workers’ compensation commissioner, is suing over what he calls their heavy-handed and illegal attempts to force his resignation. After he declined, the governor cut Godfrey’s pay by $40,000, to the lowest allowed for the position. Godfrey’s lawsuit alleges discrimination based on sexual orientation, extortion and defamation.

Godfrey’s attorney has filed a motion arguing that Branstad’s lawyer has a conflict and should be removed. The affidavits are part of an attempt to defeat that motion.