DES MOINES, Iowa — State lawyers say a lawsuit brought by a fired Iowa criminal investigator should be delayed until former Gov. Terry Branstad completes his service as ambassador to China.

The Iowa attorney general’s office filed a motion Wednesday asking a judge to suspend proceedings in Larry Hedlund’s lawsuit indefinitely or to alternatively delay the trial scheduled for Dec. 4.

The filing says Branstad will be unable to attend, and his “vital duties to this country make it extraordinary difficult” to participate in his defense.

Hedlund is the former Division of Criminal Investigation agent who was fired in 2013, days after reporting speeding by Branstad’s security detail. He’s suing Branstad for defamation and Department of Public Safety supervisors for wrongful termination.

Branstad has said Hedlund’s firing had nothing to do with the speeding complaint and the department says Hedlund was fired for insubordination.