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Controversial pastor files lawsuit against Gov. Edwards over stay-at-home order

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
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(KNOE)
Published: May. 10, 2020 at 2:38 PM CDT
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Tony Spell, the controversial pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La., has filed a lawsuit against Governor John Bel Edwards and several others.

The pastor has repeatedly held religious services despite many warnings against doing so. He was also arrested last month after allegedly trying to back up into a protestor with a school bus.

The Advocate reports that Spell's lawsuit accuses Gov. Edwards, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome, and other state and local leaders of harassment. Among the accusations, Spell claims his phones were tapped, and that cameras "were installed across the road from the church."

Spell's lawsuit claims his arrest for breaking the governor's emergency order by holding a church service with more than 10 people goes against him and his congregation's right to free speech under the constitution. The lawsuit also claims that the governor's restrictions single out religious organizations around the state.

The pastor's civil suit asks a federal judge to stop Gov. Edwards or local law enforcement from enforcing the restrictions on him or his church.

Spell is also seeking other damages in the suit.

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