Montana congressman-elect pleads guilty to assaulting a reporter

Gianforte's campaign initially blamed the altercation on Jacobs' "aggressive behavior" and offered a version of events at odds with an audio recording and witness accounts.

The soon-to-be USA congressman from Montana charged with assaulting a reporter last month will plead guilty, according to the Billings Gazette and The Associated Press.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Gianforte was also sentenced to 20 hours of anger management classes. Jacobs agree not to sue the congressman-elect and Gianforte promised to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Gazette reported.

Jacobs said Gianforte "body slammed" him after the reporter asked a question about the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of a health care bill the day before the May 25 election.

But Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said Friday that he had not agreed to any deal in which Gianforte would plead no contest.

Gianforte is scheduled to appear Monday morning before Justice of the Peace Rick West.

Jacobs, who accepted Gianforte's apology, told the court Monday that Gianforte's actions had thrust him into the national spotlight.

Speaking before his sentencing, Gianforte apologized to Jacobs directly and said he looked forward to sitting down with him in DC.

Republican candidate for Montana's congressional seat, Greg Gianforte, slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor, according to sources familiar with the situation.

"I acknowledge that the media have an obligation to seek information", Gianforte wrote to Jacobs.

"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's letter says. I hope the court's decision will send a strong message about the necessity of civil discourse and the importance of a free press.

In the wake of the attack and election, Gianforte revealed that he had lied about what happened that day, and issued a letter of apology to Jacobs. Misdemeanor assault carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or a six month jail sentence. "You were doing your job".

Gianforte requested the hearing after reaching a civil settlement this week, during which Jacobs consented to Gianforte pleading no contest, meaning he would concede to the charge without technically admitting guilt.

  • Larry Hoffman