Republican congressional candidate 'body slams' reporter

If convicted, Gianforte could face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 6 months in jail. The statement added that the "nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault". It's an nearly instant turnaround before polls close Thursday evening.

Despite the importance of the election to Democrats' hopes of winning back the House of Representatives in 2018, the vote was absent from most national headlines until just one day before the vote. Campaign spending quickly reached record levels, with Quist and Gianforte raising more than $10 million combined and outside groups dumping more than $7 million into the race, most of it from groups aligned with conservatives.

Jacobs apparently persistent and-according to a Fox News team there- Gianforte "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him".

"He took me to the ground", Jacobs said of the attack. Gootkin said no arrests had been made and the case remained under investigation.

Jacobs' account is backed by Fox News reporters and other who witnessed the scene.

Numerous journalists highlighted the striking difference between Gianforte's campaign's statement and the version of events from Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the incident.

Jacobs, has been covering the candidate for several weeks, asked Gianforte a question about the Republican health care plan before being attacked, according to the Guardian.

"We are also sick and exhausted - of Gianforte's incessant attacks on the free press", it continued.

A special election is now being held in Montana to fill a congressional seat vacated by a member of the Trump administration.

Jacobs posted audio of the incident in which Gianforte appears to say "The last time you came in here you did the same thing".

"Greg Gianforte must immediately withdraw his candidacy after his alleged violent assault of an innocent journalist", spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement. "I mean, this is really sort of appalling, and I do want to say that there is a cost to continually berating the media". Judge for yourself if you hear Gianforte ask Jacobs to lower the recorder (or "phone", as in microphone) before the altercation begins.

"Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face".

"Usually when people say "the press is under assault" they are speaking metaphorically", quipped Jeet Heer, a senior editor at The New Republic. The Guardian reported that a Gianforte spokesman said the candidate did not oversee his portfolio daily, but looked at its "overall performance".

"This is the sound of Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte violently assaulting a journalist", reads the text. Jacobs then grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office in Montana convened a press conference on the eve of Montana's pivotal special election, following allegations that a GOP congressional candidate "body slammed" a reporter.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Gianforte was issued a citation Wednesday night. Jacobs was merely asking Gianforte his thoughts on health care now that the CBO score was released.

It is a last-minute curveball in Thursday's race, which was partly seen as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency. They will decide whether Democrat Rob Quist or Republican Greg Gianforte will succeed former Congressman Ryan Zinke, who left his elected position to become the secretary of the interior in the Trump administration. The wild card in the contest is a Libertarian longshot who could siphon votes from the better-financed competitors.

  • Arturo Norris