APNewsBreak: Gianforte to plead guilty to assault charge
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 9:49
Gianforte is accused of knocking Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground when Jacobs tried to question him on a health care bill in Congress.
Jacobs says he hopes the episode will reinforce respect for freedom of the press and encourage more civil discourse.
Until now, the Guardian notes, Gianforte has avoided discussing his campaign's initial statement on the incident, which blamed Jacobs for the assault.
Later that evening, the sheriff cited Gianforte for misdemeanor assault.
His letter also said his "physical response to your (Jacobs) legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful".
According to CNN, Gianforte will appear in front of a Montana court on June 20, to face the misdemeanor assault charge. Gianforte then told Jacobs to "get the hell out of here", according to an audio recording by Jacobs.
A "no contest" plea would mean Gianforte does not plead guilty to allegations but acknowledges sufficient evidence for a conviction.
"Notwithstanding anyone's statements to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you", Gianforte wrote.
Gianforte requested the court hearing after reaching a civil settlement this week. The next day, Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist to win the special congressional election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Montana's only congressman.
Gianforte followed-up in a statement Wednesday saying, "I have taken full responsibility for my actions and both publicly and personally apologized to Mr".
"It allows the defense to come in and say, 'OK, I'm willing to accept responsibility, but I don't want a legal admission on the record that I am legally guilty, '" Gross said.
Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault following the encounter and now faces a maximum of six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Jacobs previously said he was "body slammed" by Gianforte on the day before the May 25 special congressional election in Montana when the reporter tried to ask him a question. It was reported that Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck and broke his glasses.
Montana congressman-elect Greg Gianforte agreed to donate to a press organization in order to prevent a lawsuit from a journalist he admitted attacking.
Gianforte will contribute $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of the settlement.
A spokesman for Gianforte declined Friday to comment on Gianforte's plea.
"This whole back-and-forth negotiating that was announced in the Guardian last night that's all between Ben Jacobs and Greg Gianforte", said Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert.
"I went from being vertical one moment to being horizontal the next", Jacobs said in an interview with "Good Morning America" the morning after the alleged assault.
A justice of the peace was expected to grant the court appearance request later Thursday, he said.