The appeal of a judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that accused Republican Gov. Paul LePage of abuse of power and blackmail will continue through this summer with legal briefs and another round of oral arguments.

A briefing schedule from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston indicates the appeal will play out over the next several months. Briefs will be filed through mid-August before oral arguments are scheduled, said a lawyer for Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves, the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Eves’ lawsuit accused LePage of using blackmail to force Good Will-Hinckley, a nonprofit in Fairfield that operates a charter school, to rescind a job offer to him. The lawsuit sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. The judge dismissed the lawsuit this month, and Eves appealed.

Eves said Monday that he’s not giving up because he wants to make sure that what happened to him doesn’t happen to someone else.

“I keep fighting because I know anyone could be next,” said Eves, of North Berwick. “Every Mainer should have the right to express their political views in our democracy without losing their job or the ability to provide for their family.”

LePage’s critics contend that his interference with Eves’ offer to be Good Will-Hinckley’s president was part of a pattern of bullying and abuse. The governor insisted he was the victim of a “witch hunt.” The governor’s office had no immediate comment Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills said there was no evidence that LePage committed a crime when he pressured Good Will-Hinckley to rescind the offer to Eves.

But the flap had political implications, leading to an attempt to impeach the governor that fell short in the Democrat-controlled House.

Eves’ lawyer, David Webbert, said he always felt the lawsuit would be decided on appeal. A three-judge panel is expected to consider the appeal.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: