Iowa Sports Betting Case Against ISU Student-Athletes Dismissed

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Iowa sports betting

The Iowa sports betting case against four Iowa State University student-athletes was dismissed Friday, LSR confirmed. 

Ex-Iowa State football players Eyioma Uwazurike, Isaiah Lee and Jirehl Brock, and wrestler Paniro Johnson, were facing Iowa sports betting charges in Story County. The charges included identity theft and tampering with records. 

However, in a Friday motion, the state of Iowa requested that the matter be dismissed with prejudice. Three days earlier, attorneys for the four ISU student-athletes had filed a motion to suppress all evidence.

“This seemed like an inevitable conclusion after information of how law enforcement gathered the data underlying these charges,” gaming legal expert John Holden told LSR.

Why Iowa sports betting case was dismissed

The case turned due to an “illegal search and seizure.” Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Brian Sanger was accused of using a monitoring tool called Kibana. The tool allowed Sanger to conduct a “warrantless search.” 

“On January 25, 2024 GeoComply sent the letter of their intent to disable access of Kibana to the DCI. The letter confirmed that at IRGC’s direction Geocomply provided certain members of the Iowa DCI access to Kibana on the understanding that such tools would be used for limited-scope purposes, and that it had come to their attention that DCI may have exceeded the intended outlined scope of its Kibana access-and-use privileges . GeoComply informed IRGC that DCI’s access to Kibana would be disabled effective January 26, 2024,” Tuesday’s motion stated. 

Civil suit in Iowa sports betting case

“It’s a great day for the athletes,” attorney Van Plumb told LSR

Plumb, who represents Uwazurike and Lee, told LSR that a civil suit will be forthcoming. 

“We will be proceeding with a civil suit, not only on the athletes that we had the cases dismissed against, but multiple others,” Plumb said. 

Attorney’s explanation of key change

As Plumb explained to LSR: 

“The bottom line is when I first got involved in this case, and before the other firms I asked to join me, I’ve made the argument that you can’t use a software program to put a geofence around an area without a warrant,” Plumb said. “And specifically with Kibana, GeoComply had policies and procedures for terms of use that they posted online that said you cannot use our program for law enforcement purposes unless you get a search warrant, or through a subpoena. And that simply didn’t happen in this case. 

“The state of Iowa always said we don’t think that applied to us. GeoComply never told our agents that. Well, if you see from the information sent yesterday, in those letters, that’s not what GeoComply believes. That’s why they took away the use of Kibana from DCI.” 

Friday’s motion for dismissal

As Friday’s motion stated: