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Court dismisses Tony Spell’s virus restrictions suit

FILE - Pastor Tony Spell speaks to the media after holding an evening service at the Life...
FILE - Pastor Tony Spell speaks to the media after holding an evening service at the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La., Tuesday, March 31, 2020.(Source: AP Photo / Gerald Herbert)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 9:15 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) — A federal court has again rejected a Louisiana pastor’s lawsuit over Gov. John Bel Edwards’ past COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge said Tony Spell’s lawsuit is moot because the restrictions long ago expired. And Jackson rejected Spell’s request for damages.

His ruling said there has never been a clearly established right to unrestricted religious assembly. And he added that Edwards and the other public officials Spell sued are immune from liability as they believed they were acting within constitutional limits.

Spell routinely flouted the state’s 2020 public health restrictions at his Life Tabernacle Church in the Baton Rouge area.

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