Feds are investigating King water splashing incident

US attorney takes over Gibbins case

The United States attorney’s office has taken over the investigation of the man accused of splashing U.S. Rep. Steve King in the face with water at a Fort Dodge restaurant last month.

Blake Gibbins, 26, of Lafayette, Colorado, has been charged with two counts of assault and one count of disorderly conduct, all simple misdemeanors.

Last Thursday, Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll said he was notified by the United States attorney’s office, Northern District of Iowa, that it was taking over the investigation as it pertains to a violation of the United States code.

The specific code cited involves assault against government officials, including members of the United States Congress.

“Whoever assaults any person designated in subsection (a) of this section shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both,” the code section states.

As a result, local involvement in the case has been suspended indefinitely and all scheduled hearings have been canceled.

Driscoll said Gibbins is not facing federal charges at this time.

Gibbins is accused of throwing a glass of water at King, a Republican from Kiron, while the congressman was having lunch at Mineral City Mill & Grill, 2621 Fifth Ave. S., on March 22.

Gibbins allegedly approached King’s table at the restaurant, asked about King’s identity, and then threw a glass of water on him. King was splashed, as were others sitting at the table.

Burlyn Pecoy, of Fort Dodge, was sitting at the table and was also apparently hit with water.

No injuries were reported.

Gibbins has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A change of venue hearing was among the hearings that were canceled. Gibbins was seeking to have the trial moved out of the Fourth Congressional District, which King represents. His attorney argued that social media comments and pre-trial publicity, as well as comments by King himself, showed that Gibbins could not receive a fair trial.