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Motion filed to dismiss charges against Iowa State athletes

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The prosecutor handling the sports wagering case against four former or suspended Iowa State athletes has asked a judge to dismiss all charges.
In a motion filed Friday in Story County District Court, assistant county attorney Benjamin Matchan wrote that the Division of Criminal Investigation exceeded the scope of permitted use of tracking software that detected open mobile betting apps in Iowa State athletic facilities.
“Due to this newly discovered evidence, the State no longer believes further prosecution in this matter is in the interests of justice,” Matchan wrote.
Attorneys for former football players Isaiah Lee, Jirehl Brock and Eyioma Uwazurike and suspended wrestler Paniro Johnson had filed a motion to suppress earlier this week.
The four are among about two dozen Iowa State and Iowa athletes criminally charged last year. They each faced a felony charge of identity theft and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of tampering with records.
Most of the athletes who were charged pleaded guilty to underage gambling, paid fines and had identity theft charges dropped.
The identity theft charges stemmed from athletes registering accounts on mobile sports betting apps under different names, usually a relative.
Defense attorneys have said there was no probable cause for the searches into online wagering activities that resulted in criminal charges and lost NCAA eligibility.
In the motion to suppress, the defense alleged that a special agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation violated the agency’s limited-use agreement with a geofencing tracking firm when he used its software to locate places inside Iowa State athletic facilities where athletes were making wagers on mobile betting platforms. The agent later obtained account information from the platforms to identify the athletes and third parties whose credit cards were used.
The motion contended that the use of the tracking software was unconstitutional because no warrant had been issued, and it noted that the software firm, GeoComply, cut off DCI’s access to the tool last month because the user agreement was violated.
Uwazurike, now a defensive end for the Denver Broncos, was indefinitely suspended in July for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Lee and Brock left the Cyclones team before the season. Johnson is not participating in any wrestling meets attached to Iowa State this season, only unattached tournaments where he pays his own way.
Information from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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