PORTLAND — The parties in the case of an anonymous website criticizing then-gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler go before a federal judge Friday.

Political consultant Dennis Bailey is suing the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. The panel had fined Bailey $200 for failing to comply with disclosure requirements of election law.

Bailey, whose legal team includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, maintains that “The Cutler Files” website was a form of political speech protected under the First Amendment.

District Judge Nancy Torresen will hear oral arguments on the parties’ motions for summary judgment Friday.

The now-defunct website was created in August 2010 during the gubernatorial campaign.

After denying any involvement for weeks, Bailey admitted being a co-creator of the website.
Bailey had been a political adviser to Democratic candidate Rosa Scarcelli before she lost her bid for the party’s nomination.

Scarcelli’s husband, Thom Rhoads, has since also confirmed that he was involved in the website.

Rhoads and Cutler, who ran as an independent, are intervenors in the case.