Ricketts spokeswoman disputes death penalty lawsuit claims

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Gov. Pete Ricketts is disputing allegations made in a legal challenge to the petition drive that seeks to preserve Nebraska’s death penalty.

Spokeswoman Brittany Hardin said in a statement Friday that the governor’s support for the petition drive doesn’t make him a sponsor, as death penalty opponents have argued.

A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the petition drive is invalid because Ricketts wasn’t listed as a sponsor, even though he financed a large part of the campaign and has close ties to its managers.

Petition sponsors announced in August that they’ve collected nearly 167,000 signatures to place the issue on the November 2016 ballot.

Hardin says the lawsuit is “yet another example of special interests using the courts in an attempt to thwart the will of voters.”

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