Montana Politician Pleads Guilty to Body-Slamming Reporter, Gets 20 Hours of Anger Management

Greg Gianforte, Representative-elect for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat, pleaded guilty on Monday to misdemeanor assault after body-slamming a journalist last month, reports say.

A judge sentenced the embattled politician to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a $385 fine, which includes a court fee, CNN reports.

He was given a 180-day deferred jail sentence, the The New York Times reports.

A misdemeanor assault conviction carries a maximum weight of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, according to the state’s website.

Gianforte, 56, was charged with attacking The Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs after the journalist asked a question about the GOP’s controversial health care bill. Jacobs claimed that Gianforte shoved him to the ground.

Gianforte apologized to the reporter in the wake of the incident — as he declared victory in the heated Montana U.S. House election.

“I should not have responded in the way that I did,” Gianforte said. “For that, I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way and, for that, I’m sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs.”

Gianforte’s spokesperson issued a statement claiming that Jacobs entered the headquarters without permission and was the aggressor in the situation.

However, Jacobs detailed the incident in the back of an ambulance after the alleged attack, telling The Guardian,“ took me to the ground.”

“I think he wailed on me once or twice,” Jacobs continued. “He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter who witnessed the chaotic scene wrote that, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter.”

Jacobs also captured the incident in an audio recording, in which Gianforte can be heard yelling at the reporter.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte said after trying to dodge a question. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here.”

Sheriff Brian Gootkin later announced in a press conference that after conducting an investigation and interviews, “there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault.”

He added that “the nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault.”

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/politics/greg-gianforte-body-slam-reporter-community-service/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s