Lawyers reversed course on Tuesday and dropped a subpoena in which they had ordered an Iowa journalist to turn over notes related to his book about a lottery industry insider who rigged jackpots in several states.
The withdrawal of the subpoena for journalist Perry Beeman's notes came hours after The Associated Press reported that it had been issued and sought materials that were likely protected by Iowa's reporter privilege law.
Beeman co-wrote a recent book, "The $80 billion Gamble," with former Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. It tells the inside story of how now-imprisoned lottery security contractor Eddie Tipton altered number-drawing programs on computers to win jackpots for himself, friends and family in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The subpoena had been filed by lawyers for Larry Dawson, an Iowa jackpot winner who contends that Tipton's rigging reduced his prize by millions of dollars. They had notified the court of the subpoena Aug. 16 and served it on Beeman last week. The subpoena ordered Beeman to turn over by Sept. 16 all of his correspondence with Rich since January 2018, including notes related to four interviews they conducted last year.
Beeman didn't respond to the subpoena before it was withdrawn, but he did indicate that he likely would not have complied with it.
"I'm happy that he's withdrawn the subpoena," Beeman said. "I think the information was privileged. The Iowa Supreme Court has been pretty clear that the type of information sought was off limits."
One of Dawson's attorneys, Blake Hanson, confirmed that the subpoena had been withdrawn but didn't immediately explain the reason why.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a reporter's sources, unpublished information and notes are privileged material and may be subject to court-ordered disclosure only under rare circumstances. The legal precedent suggests that lawyers issuing subpoenas to reporters may be successful only if they show they have a substantial need for the information and have exhausted less burdensome means of obtaining it.
Dawson is suing the Iowa Lottery and the Multi-State Lottery Association, where Tipton worked. He contends that a $9 million Hot Lotto jackpot that he won in 2011 should have been nearly three times as big.
Tipton had purchased the winning ticket for the previous, $16.5 million jackpot that he rigged and had associates claim. Rich, then the Iowa Lottery chief, refused to pay the award because the person who claimed the prize would not reveal who had bought the ticket. Rich requested a criminal investigation that ultimately uncovered Tipton's stunning scheme, in which he installed computer code that allowed him to predict winning combinations on certain days of the year.
Dawson's lawsuit contends that under the game's rules, the $16.5 million prize should have rolled over to the next jackpot, which he won. Instead, the proceeds went back to the states that sponsored the game. The Iowa Lottery used its share for a "Mystery Millionaire" promotion, which included a $1 million prize drawn at the Iowa State Fair.
The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 2.
Dawson is represented by the Crawford Law Firm, which recently helped obtain a $4.3 million class-action settlement to reimburse lottery players nationwide who bought tickets for drawings that were rigged. A court still needs to approve the settlement, including a request for $1.43 million in legal fees for the firm and other lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.
Timeline of the biggest crime in US lottery history
The following is a compilation of Lottery Post news coverage chronicling the Hot Lotto mystery and subsequently discovered crime.
We start the timeline with a news story indicating that only 3 months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.
- Iowa Lottery security chief bent on determining identity of jackpot winner, Jan. 10, 2012
- NY lawyer in lottery mystery travels to Iowa this week, Jan. 17, 2012
- Iowa Lottery security chief to grill NY lawyer over Hot Lotto ticket, Jan. 17, 2012
- Representative of Hot Lotto winner named in lawsuit, Jan. 20, 2012
- Hot Lotto trust representative won't name winner, Jan. 20, 2012
- Iowa Lottery threatens to deny jackpot payout if winner stays anonymous, Jan. 23, 2012
- Lawyer gives up $14 million Iowa lottery ticket claim, Jan. 26, 2012
- $14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn, Jan. 27, 2012
- Iowa Legislators satisfied with Lottery's handling of mystery jackpot winner, Feb. 1, 2012
- Iowa Lottery to give away millions from jackpot mystery, Feb. 26, 2012
- Iowa Lottery director: 50-50 that Hot Lotto mystery will be solved, Aug. 9, 2012
- Iowa officials trying to solve lotto mystery, may release surveillance video, Aug. 19, 2012
- MUSL employee arrested in Hot Lotto jackpot mystery, Jan. 15, 2015
- BOMBSHELL: MUSL employee might have rigged Hot Lotto computerized drawing, Apr. 13, 2015
- Texas man charged in Iowa lottery case contests extradition, Apr. 20, 2015
- Extradition trial begins this week in $16.5M Hot Lotto fraud case, Jun. 7, 2015
- Inside the biggest lottery scam ever, Jul. 7, 2015
- Trial underway in world's biggest lottery fraud case, Jul. 14, 2015
- Lottery security chief: Rigging computerized game "sadly" possible, Jul. 15, 2015
- Prosecution rests in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Defense quickly wraps up in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Hot Lotto case moves to jury for deliberations, Jul. 17, 2015
- Former lottery security employee guilty of rigging $14.3M drawing, Jul. 20, 2015
- MUSL security worker who rigged drawing gets 10 years, Sep. 9, 2015
- HOT LOTTO DRAWING CHEAT CHARGED WITH RIGGING MORE JACKPOTS, Oct. 9, 2015
- Texas authorities had previously investigated brother of lottery cheat, Oct. 14, 2015
- Another $1.2M Hot Lotto jackpot rigged by Tipton, officials say, Nov. 21, 2015
- Jackpot-fixing investigation expands to more state lotteries, Dec. 18, 2015
- Prosecutors say Tipton rigged two jackpots he purchased tickets for in Kansas, Dec. 21, 2015
- Maine gives names of Hot Lotto winners to Iowa team looking into rigging scheme, Dec. 23, 2015
- S.C. Lottery assures public no computerized drawings used in state, Dec. 23, 2015
- Kansas lottery players questioning game's integrity, Dec. 23, 2015
- MUSL CHIEF OUSTED OVER JACKPOT-RIGGING SCANDAL, Dec. 23, 2015
- Lottery scandal unlikely to affect New Mexico, official says, Dec. 26, 2015
- Tipton granted delay in next trial until July, Dec. 29, 2015
- Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich to answer lottery player questions live Monday evening, Jan. 11, 2016
- First lawsuit in state lottery-fixing scandal seeks millions, Feb. 4, 2016
- MUSL seeks to dismiss lawsuit over rigged jackpot, Apr. 1, 2016
- Lottery scammer's brother facing criminal charges, Apr. 6, 2016
- Investigators find Tipton's software code to rig computerized lottery drawings, Apr. 7, 2016
- Lottery rigging scandal prompts security audit in South Dakota, Apr. 13, 2016
- Preliminary hearing rescheduled for Tommy Tipton in lottery rigging case, Apr. 22, 2016
- Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandal, Apr. 28, 2016
- Lottery scam investigation comes to Tennessee, May 11, 2016
- Investigators find another friend of Tipton who cashed rigged lottery prize, May 11, 2016
- Convicted computerized drawing fraudster argues Iowa court appeal, Jun. 16, 2016
- US Senate panel demands info in lottery scandal, Jun. 22, 2016
- Lottery rigging trial to be moved out of Des Moines, Jun. 27, 2016
- Eddie Tipton's new trial delayed until 2017, Jul. 1, 2016
- Iowa court reverses part of Tipton's lottery fraud conviction, Jul. 28, 2016
- Internal investigation concludes Tipton acted alone to rig lottery drawings, Aug. 10, 2016
- Prosecutors say 2 more men may be linked to lottery riggings, Aug. 24, 2016
- Judge: winner's lawsuit in lottery-fixing case can continue, Oct. 13, 2016
- Alleged lottery scandal conspirator to enter new plea, Nov. 14, 2016
- Accused lottery rigger Eddie Tipton facing new Wisconsin charges, Dec. 22, 2016
- Man files lawsuit over rigged lottery jackpots, Jan. 4, 2017
- Trials for Tipton brothers charged in lottery scandal delayed, Jan. 8, 2017
- Former MUSL official received severance amid lottery jackpot scandal, Jan. 10, 2017
- Texas man pleads guilty to fraud in lottery scandal case, Jan. 11, 2017
- Iowa Supreme Court hears lottery rigging case, Feb. 14, 2017
- Kansas files lawsuit against accused lottery rigger, Mar. 16, 2017
- Best friend to testify against Tipton at July lottery rigging trial, Mar. 31, 2017
- Mastermind of lottery fraud will explain how he rigged jackpots, Jun. 12, 2017
- FBI missed rigged jackpot in 2006 before lottery scheme grew, Jun. 19, 2017
- The 5 lottery jackpots Tipton and his friends stole, Jun. 20, 2017
- Lottery jackpot rigger's Iowa convictions dismissed, Jun. 23, 2017
- IT'S OFFICIAL: Tipton pleads guilty to rigging computerized lottery drawings, Jun. 29, 2017
- Lottery rigging accomplice used Wisconsin payout for offshore tax scam, Jul. 6, 2017
- Hot Lotto multi-state lottery game to end in October, Aug. 9, 2017
- Lottery rigging mastermind sentenced to 25 years in prison, Aug. 22, 2017
- Winner sues Colorado Lottery 12 years after rigged drawing, Oct. 5, 2017
- Lottery scammer rigged more drawings than first thought, records show, Feb. 19, 2018
- How a gaming geek with a checkered past pulled off the biggest lottery scam in U.S. history, Mar. 16, 2018
- Infamous lottery scammer says US computerized lottery drawings remain fatally flawed, Mar. 19, 2018
- Iowa Lottery wins International Gaming-Compliance award for work in lottery rigging investigation, Apr. 19, 2018
- The man who cracked the lottery, May 3, 2018
- Memo: Iowa Lottery kept selling games after security warning, Aug. 1, 2018
- Investigation finds lottery scamming Tipton brothers have repaid virtually nothing, Dec. 27, 2018
- Lawyers seek to depose lottery fraud mastermind in prison, Jan. 21, 2019
- Iowa lottery lawsuit granted class action, affecting 7.2 million tickets in 19 states, Jan. 28, 2019
- Colorado man who unwittingly split a $4.8M jackpot with scammer is fighting the Colorado Lottery, Apr. 15, 2019
- Lottery-scamming brothers avoid asset seizures by transferring property to their mother, Apr. 29, 2019
- Lottery winner can seek bigger prize at trial, judge rules, May 17, 2019
- Court rejects Colorado man's claim to full $4.8M lottery jackpot he unwittingly split with scammers, Jun. 21, 2019
- Lottery losers could get paid after lottery scam lawsuit settles for $4.3 million, Jul. 22, 2019
- Journalist faces subpoena in lawsuit over lottery scandal, Aug. 28, 2019