Man pleads guilty to throwing water on Rep. Steve King

CNN Politics 1 month ago
CNN's Briana Keilar speaks to Jessica Birch, the only person to attend Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) town hall in Grundy County, Iowa.

A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty on Monday to assaulting a member of Congress for throwing water on Republican Rep. Steve King at an Iowa restaurant in March, according to the Justice Department.

Blake Gibbins of Lafayette, Colorado, "admitted that on March 22, 2019, at the Mineral City Mill & Grill in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he approached a table where U.S. Congressman Steve King and others were seated and assaulted Congressman King by intentionally throwing a cup of water on him," the department wrote in a statement Monday. Gibbins made the admissions at his guilty plea hearing and in a plea agreement, according to the statement.

Gibbins could face up to one year in prison, five years of probation and a $100,000 fine for the misdemeanor, court documents show. Sentencing before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Kelly Mahoney will occur once a pre-sentence report is completed, according to the Justice Department statement.

    Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Duax is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, the Fort Dodge Police Department, and the US Capitol Police.

    Tony Morfitt, the public information officer for the US Attorney in the Northern District of Iowa, told CNN that the office cannot comment on ongoing cases per the court's rules. CNN has contacted King and Gibbins' lawyer for comment.

      March was a controversial time for King. At a town hall the day before the altercation involving Gibbins, King praised the response of his Iowan constituents, who are majority white, to recent severe flooding to the residents of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. King's seemingly racist comments were widely condemned by his colleagues in the House, including Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana.

      Earlier that month, King shared a Facebook post boasting that red states would "win" a fight against blue states -- and that they have "about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use."

      CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi and Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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