NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island teachers' union official has been cleared of cyberstalking a former state lawmaker during the 2010 elections.

The Providence Journal reports Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl ruled John Leidecker's emails were protected political speech under the First Amendment.

Leidecker is the deputy executive director at the National Education Association of Rhode Island. He was accused of cyberstalking former lawmaker Douglas Gablinske by sending him harassing emails during the primary race.

McGuirl's ruling overturned a guilty verdict against Leidecker in District Court in 2011. McGuirl said a person running for office can expect some criticism and annoying comments. Leidecker said he was pleased with the ruling.

Gablinske said in a statement to the paper that harassing actions are not protected under the Constitution.

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