Tainted Iowa Sports Betting Probe Leads Student-Athletes To File Federal Suit

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Iowa sports betting

Twenty-six student-athletes involved in the Iowa sports betting probe filed a federal lawsuit on Friday.

The defendants in the suit include the state of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and five people involved in the Iowa sports betting probe. 

The case against four Iowa State University student-athletes was dismissed in March. The case turned because of an “illegal search and seizure,” which included a “warrantless search.” 

“We’re looking forward to getting into the court system and having an impartial jury decide whether or not these kids’ rights were violated, because we wholeheartedly believe they were,” attorney Van Plumb, who represents ex-Iowa State football players Eyioma Uwazurike and Isaiah Lee, told LSR

Iowa sports betting probe plaintiffs

The 26 plaintiffs include Uwazurike, Lee, fellow ex-Iowa State football player Jiherl Brock and wrestler Paniro Johnson. The quartet had their cases dismissed. 

The plaintiffs additionally include ex-Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers and former University of Iowa defensive lineman Noah Shannon. All in all, there were 16 student-athletes from the University of Iowa, nine from Iowa State and one from a community college in the state.

As reported by ESPN, 16 were charged, and 12 pleaded guilty to underage gambling. 

Plaintiffs seeking punitive damages

According to a 47-page lawsuit filed in the US District Court of the Southern District of Iowa Central Division, the plaintiffs are seeking: 

Iowa sports betting probe at a glance

The lawsuit named DCI agent Brian Sanger. Singer allegedly used a monitoring tool called Kibana to conduct a warrantless search trying to find whether student-athletes were betting on sports illegally. 

As a result, Plumb told LSR in March that Iowa student-athletes would be proceeding with a civil suit. 

“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 told LSR at the time. “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.”