Montana

Gianforte apologizes to reporter for assault before election

MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana’s U.S. Rep-elect Greg Gianforte sent a letter of apology to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs as part of a settlement after he physically attacked the reporter at a campaign event last month.

In the letter Gianforte said his actions were unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful. He also said he made a mistake and is asking for forgiveness.

“I have taken full responsibility for my actions and both publicly and personally apologized to Mr. Ben Jacobs. Ben has accepted my apology and we are both ready to move on," Gianforte said in a statement released Wednesday evening.

Click here to read the letter Gianforte sent to Jacobs.

Jacobs said he was "body slammed" by Gianforte on May 24 while he was trying to ask him a question about a health care bill.

Gianforte agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of an agreement that settles any potential civil claims against Gianforte.  The settlement states Jacobs agrees not to object to Gianforte entering a plea of "no contest" to a misdemeanor assault charge.

Click here to read the release.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonprofit organization that works to defend the rights of journalists.

Jacobs says he hopes the episode will reinforce respect for freedom of the press and encourage more civil discourse.

Gianforte still faces a criminal charge of misdemeanor assault.  He was expected to appear in court for that by Wednesday. A judge granted Gianforte a two-week extension late Tuesday.

Gianforte won Montana's only congressional seat in the May 25 special election.


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