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DES MOINES (AP) — A federal judge has awarded more than $181,000 in legal fees to seven lawyers who successfully fought a 2012 Iowa law that made it illegal to get a job at a livestock farm to conduct an animal cruelty undercover investigation.

Animal rights and civil rights organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement, sued Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and others over the so-called ag gag law.

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In January, a judge concluded the law violated the constitutional right to free speech. The state has appealed. Last week, the judge approved animal rights groups’ attorney fees, which the state must pay.

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State house reporter for The Courier/Lee Enterprises.

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