In the audio of the interview Jacobs was attempting to orchestrate at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, Gianforte can be heard saying, “I’m sick and exhausted of you guys. That’s why I was pleased to be here and get this done and move forward”.
Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs testifies in Gallatin County Court on Monday morning.
Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the victor at a election night party for Montana’s special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on May 25, 2017 in Bozeman, Montana. Quist had 44 percent and Wicks 6 percent.
Gianforte initially denied causing the assault, and his spokesperson said after the incident it was actually Jacobs who instigated the incident.
But Fox News producers who witnessed the violent outburst later confirmed Jacobs’ story.
He also issued a letter to Jacobs last week.
Jacobs said in a statement that he accepts Gianforte’s apology.
Jacobs captured the incident on audio, but Gianforte’s campaign originally blamed the reporter for the altercation. Gianforte began shouting at Jacobs to leave, then body-slammed him to the ground, breaking his glasses.
Gianforte will contribute $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of the settlement. Gianforte, a technology entrepreneur, defeated Democrat Quist to continue the GOP’s two-decade stronghold on the congressional seat. I just hope that this court’s decision can send a strong message about the necessity of civil discourse in our country.
“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.
Gianforte won’t spend any time in jail and, if he commits no other infractions during the six months, his record will be cleared.
Instead, he will do community service, submit to anger management counseling, and pay a fine.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert says Gianforte’s offense didn’t end there.
But another aspect of the case wasn’t settled Monday: Whether Gianforte must be booked and fingerprinted, and have a traditional “mug shot” taken.
Although I am unfamiliar with Montana law on this subject, I’m guessing that Gianforte will most likely only face a fine and that there will not be any jail time associated with the sentence, or if there is it will be suspended. Lambert will respond and then the judge will rule.
Gianforte’s attorneys filed an unopposed motion Thursday for the Monday appearance.
Gianforte, a wealthy businessman, told a packed courtroom in Bozeman, Montana that he had apologized to reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian newspaper.