A federal magistrate judge decided that the gag order, imposing silence on all sides in the case of ex-state Senate employee Michael Brodkorb, should be lifted.

"While confidentiality in settlement negotiations is important, the Court is not of the opinion that all communications regarding the lawsuit in general should be prohibited," said the order.

The case, which rocked the state Capitol, involves Brodkorb's termination late last year after Republican senators revealed that he was having an affair with then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Koch stepped down from leadership in the wake of the revelations and is not running for re-election.

Brodkorb sued over his firing alleging that he was treated differently than female legislative employees who had affairs with lawmakers over the years. He had also sued for defamation.

The gag order was imposed when the parties were in settlement talks. According to the order, they met in settlement talks but "no settlement was reached and no further settlement discussions are presently scheduled."

The new freedom to talk may mean the case will take on a higher profile, just as Republicans and Democrats are scramble to win control of the Senate in the Nov. 7 election.


Gag Order Lifted