The Montana Republican Greg Gianforte was charged for assaulting a reporter and donates $50,000 to journalism nonprofit
Apparently, the Montana Republican assaulted a reporter the night before he won his seat in the House of Representatives, last month. He officially apologized to the reporter on Wednesday and promised to donate $50,000 to a journalism nonprofit organization, as part of the settlement.
Mr. Gianforte wrote in his letter to Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, the reporter in case, that his actions were “unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful.” More than that, he promised to make a donation of $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a group for press fredoms and journalists’ rights.
“As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard. You did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you.” ,” Mr. Gianforte, 56, wrote
Mr. Jacobs accepted the apology and said: “I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”
Even though the two of them came to terms, Mr. Gianforte still faces the charge of assault. More than that, if convicted, he can face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. His lawyers requested an extension this week in order to delay the first court appearance.
The episode took place during Gianforte’s final rally in a contested House election. Apparently, Mr. Jacobs approached him and asked him about his thoughts on Republicans’ health care bill. Mr. Gianforte did not react well when the reporter pushed him for an answer.
“I’m sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came here, you did the same thing.” were the words of Mr. Gianforte, as Mr. Jacobs’ audio recording showed.
These words came out soon after sounds of physical struggle and a crash could be heard on the recording.
Mr. Jacobs answer was short: “You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.”
A Fox News crew was also present at the scene and said that Mr. Gianforte “began punching the reporter” and “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”
Mr. Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault that night. Even saw, the next day he won the seat. In his speech, he mentioned that he “made a mistake” and promised the residents of Montana that he would not embarrass them again.