DES MOINES, Iowa — A judge has set a trial date for a lawsuit filed by a former state official who alleges he was pressured by former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to resign because of his sexual orientation.

A judge on Wednesday set aside four weeks beginning Jan. 14 for the lawsuit filed by Chris Godfrey. He accuses the state of discrimination based on sexual orientation and retaliation, and of violating his constitutional due process guarantees.

The lawsuit also alleges Branstad and some of his staff tried to extort Godfrey by threatening to cut his salary if he didn’t quit.

Godfrey was serving a six-year term when Branstad took office and insisted he resign. Godfrey refused and Branstad slashed his pay in July 2011.

Branstad, now U.S. ambassador to China, denies Godfrey’s claims.

Branstad’s attorneys tried to delay the trial saying it would be difficult for him to leave his duties in Beijing.