Man sentenced for throwing glass of water at Steve King

Man sentenced for throwing glass of water at Steve King
© Greg Nash

A man who was arrested last year for throwing a glass of water on Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHouse in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power Trump, Biden deadlocked in Iowa: poll GOP leader: 'There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party' MORE (R-Iowa) was sentenced this week in a federal court to two years probation.

Blake Gibbins, 27 of Lafayette, Colo., pleaded guilty in September to one misdemeanor count of assaulting a member of Congress, the Des Moines Register reported.

Gibbins was arrested in March 2019 for throwing water at the lawmaker at the Mineral City Mill and Grill in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

ADVERTISEMENT

King was reportedly eating a group lunch when Gibbins approached the table and threw the water, hitting King and others.

The incident came as King faced backlash for saying at a town hall that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials told him the people of New Orleans asked for help during Hurricane Katrina flooding, while the people of Iowa helped each other in the midst of major floods in the Midwest.

"Here’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, 'Who’s gonna help me?'" King said in video posted online.

Gibbins was initially charged by local authorities with simple assault and disorderly conduct for throwing the glass of water. However, the Register noted that those charges were suspended in April and later replaced by the federal charge from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.

"(The offense) was impulsive, unplanned and did not result in any physical injury to the victim," prosecutors wrote in a federal sentencing memorandum obtained by the outlet. "The offense occurred roughly one week after the defendant’s (adopted father) passed away, while the defendant was still under the emotional influence of the event."

Gibbins, an Iowa native who was in town to help with the funeral preparations, faced up to a year of incarceration. 

ADVERTISEMENT

His defense team recommended up to one year of probation as a punishment, but Leonard Strand, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, instead sentenced Gibbins to two years of probation with the previously agreed-upon 200 hours of community service.

"Something the sentencing judge stressed was that this was a very serious offense and it was a difficult decision for the judge because he wants to be sure to provide adequate deterrents," Gibbins's attorney Paul Statler told the Register. "The sentencing judge does not want to send the message that it is OK to assault a congressman, and we respect that."

A GoFundMe account organized by one of Gibbins’s childhood friends raised more than $5,660 to help him cover legal fees.

The Hill reached out to King’s office for comment.