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The Latest: Polish deputy justice minister resigns

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on a Polish political crisis (all times local): 4:05 p.m. Poland's deputy justice minister has handed in his resignation after allegations surfaced he encouraged an online hate campaign against judges critical of the government.

Lukasz Piebiak published a statement Tuesday saying he was resigning in the interest of the government, adding that he planned to take the onet.pl news portal to court for libel. Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki demanded explanations for allegations published by the site that Piebiak encouraged an online user to try to discredit some 20 judges who had been critical of the government.

It was another embarrassment for the right-wing government ahead of October elections, after the speaker of the parliament resigned amid a scandal over his frequent use of a government jet with his family.

12:55 p.m.

Poland's prime minister is demanding an explanation from his justice minister after allegations surfaced the minister's deputy encouraged an online hate campaign against judges critical of the government.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Tuesday he expects Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro to explain allegations published by the onet.pl news portal that his deputy, Lukasz Piebiak, encouraged an online user to try to discredit some 20 judges.

The judges targeted have criticized the right-wing government for changes it has made to Poland's judiciary, saying they were damaging to judicial independence.

The allegations are an embarrassment for the government ahead of October elections, and Morawiecki says he'll decide on consequences once he's heard Ziobro's explanation. Opposition parties are calling for Ziobro's and Piebiak's dismissal.

The Justice Ministry had no immediate comment.

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