Government

Man who dumped water on Steve King could face federal charge

Assault of congressman could bring year in prison

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) speaks to the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition at Point of Grace Church in Waukee on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) speaks to the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition at Point of Grace Church in Waukee on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

A man accused of dumping a cup of water on U.S. Rep. Steve King at an Iowa restaurant in March could face federal charges for assaulting a congressman, which could put him in prison for up to a year.

Blake Gibbins, 26, an Iowa native who now lives in Colorado, approached King’s table at the Mineral City Mill and Grill in Fort Dodge, asking the Republican congressman who he was, and then dumping his water cup on King, according to police reports. The water splashed onto at least one other person at the table, the report said.

Gibbins was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, both simple misdemeanors. He pleaded not guilty.

But his Webster County District Court trial, scheduled for next week, was postponed after the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa began probing the incident to see if Gibbins had assaulted King because he was a congressman, the Des Moines Register reported Thursday.

“Under that federal statute, that means (the state) case needs to be put on hold until the federal case is resolved,” Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll told the Register.

King has received considerable public attention for his comments and actions over the last few years that many see as racist.

The full House voted 421-1 to rebuke King for making racist comments to the New York Times, and leadership stripped him of his committee assignments.

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When someone at a town hall meeting this week asked King to resign so the people of Iowa’s 4th District could have a representative who sits on committees, King declined and restated his position that the Times mischaracterized his comments about white nationalism.

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