U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Subpoena for Iowa journalist’s reporting materials in lottery rigging case dropped

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 16, 2019
Iowa City, Iowa

Subpoena/Legal Order

Legal Orders
Legal Order Target
Legal Order Venue

An Iowa Powerball drawing manager performs a test run of equipment in this 1998 file photo.

— Reuters/File
August 16, 2019

Iowa journalist Perry Beeman received a subpoena for unpublished work product in connection to his book, “The $80 Billion Gamble,” on Aug. 16, 2019.

The books tells the story of lottery security contractor Eddie Tipton, who rigged number-drawing programs on computers to win jackpots for himself, friends and family in several states, The Associated Press reported. Larry Dawson, a jackpot winner, has sued the Iowa Lottery and Multi-State Lottery Association, arguing that Tipton’s scheme reduced his prize by millions.

As part of the lawsuit, attorneys representing Dawson ordered Beeman to turn over by Sept. 16 all of his correspondence with former Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich—with whom Beeman co-authored the book—since January 2018, including notes related to four interviews they conducted last year.

Beeman did not respond to the subpoena before it was withdrawn on Aug. 27, but he told the AP he likely would have fought it.

“I’m happy that he’s withdrawn the subpoena,” Beeman told the AP. “I think the information was privileged. The Iowa Supreme Court has been pretty clear that the type of information sought was off limits.”

Blake Hanson, one of the attorneys representing Dawson, confirmed to the AP that the subpoena had been withdrawn, but offered no explanation for the decision. The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in December.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].